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September 26, 2023

Tax Resistance Still a Great Way to Get the IRS’s Attention

Maria Lamagna reports in MarketWatch on Ed Hedemann, a 72-year-old independent contractor who hasn’t paid federal income taxes for over 40 years. And yes, he has his reasons:

Hedemann, 72, still files tax returns every year, and he doesn’t falsify any information on them, he said, but he’s still had plenty of legal problems as a result. With his tax returns he includes a letter explaining that he does not want any of his taxes to be spent on war or the military. He then takes the money that would have been allocated to the federal government and donates it to organizations he cares about, which have included Planned Parenthood, non-government funded schools, refugee aid groups and Parkinson’s disease research. In total, he estimates he’s donated $85,000, the amount he would have sent to the federal government.

He’s honestly dishonest! Or dishonestly honest! I don’t know, take your pick.

Hedemann is a classic case of a tax resister, someone who doesn’t to pay taxes to a government because of a particular policy. Many people refused to pay taxes because they didn’t like President Obama’s policies. Many people are now refusing to pay taxes because they don’t like President Trump’s policies. It’s a pretty tried and true approach to avoiding taxes, but hoo-boy that is not tax advice and certainly not legal advice. Tax resisters are totally different from a tax protestors. those who refuse to pay taxes on constitutional or legal grounds. That’s a whole other kettle of fishy tax advice.

In any case, although Mr. Hedemann has managed to stay out of prison all these years, that does not mean you or any of your clients will be as lucky:

“In realistic terms, this is not a good way to deal with things,” said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of social and economic policy group Urban Institute and research group Brookings Institution, based in Washington, D.C. “The IRS knows who you are and where to find you.”

Seriously, if you really want to get out of paying taxes, come into the world rich and lose a bunch of money in real estate. Much, much easier.


Image: iStock/marcnorman



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