The Tax Man Cometh to Capitol Hill

By Matt Pyeatt | July 7, 2008 | 8:28pm EDT

(Correction: Tax Freedom Day is April 27)

Washington ( - As tax reform activists prepare to celebrate Tax Freedom Day April 27, the date on which the average American has earned enough money to pay all of his or her tax obligations for the year, the commissioner of the IRS says his agency is "gradually improving" its performance "across the board."

IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti testified Tuesday before the House Oversight Subcommittee, claiming, "Our most important judge of the IRS, the American public, has begun to respond to our efforts."

One group, however, does not believe the IRS even has the legal right to tax citizens' incomes.

We The People Foundation For Constitutional Education claims Americans waive their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when they file tax returns because the filing is not mandatory, it is voluntary.

We The People also claims the 16th Amendment, which gives Congress the right to tax incomes, was fraudulently ratified, therefore making tax collection illegal.

"The notion that our government operates outside the limitations of the Constitution and is unwilling to publicly establish its legal authority or justify its behavior is repulsive," Robert L. Schulz, chairman of We The People, said Monday.

Schulz said the federal government goes to extremes to collect something for which it has no right. He added that the goal of the IRS is to "terrorize the American public into paying taxes."

"Our income tax system is incompatible with freedom," Schulz said. "A free people cannot be expected to tolerate such conduct by its government."

Schulz said he and his group are not opposed to paying taxes, nor do they advocate not paying taxes. His goal is to force the IRS to justify the personal income tax and cite the grounds on which it has the right to collect taxes.

However, in his testimony before the Oversight Subcommittee, Rossotti said he believes the IRS is operating efficiently under the law.

"We are doing our job more efficiently and effectively, enabling us to better leverage our precious resources," Rossotti said.

According to Victoria Osborn, a forensic accountant with TPI Forensic Accounting, "Agents in the examination and collection divisions of the IRS are willfully and intentionally committing illegal acts against taxpayers" by adding fraudulent information to the files of certain taxpayers.

"The only evidence to prove the fraud is the IRS non-sanitized version of the taxpayer's master file, which cannot be read and understood by the majority of taxpayers," Osborn said.

"Once the fraudulent information is on the master file, everyone relies upon that information and the IRS has presumption of correctness, given by Congress, which means the taxpayer has to prove the IRS data is fraudulent," Osborn said.

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