The Plenary Power to Tax
This Isn't Rocket Science
By: Bill E. Branscum
Copyright 2006

Some years ago, while serving as a federal agent, I stopped a Beechcraft King Air departing Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport en route to Colombia, I boarded the airplane without invitation, I demanded that the apparent owner of the airplane open his briefcase, I threatened to destroy the locked briefcase if he failed to comply, I examined the documents thereby produced, and I subsequently seized the airplane . . . all of which absent articulable probable cause.

Sometime later, a wonderfully arrogant defense attorney, sarcastically walked me thru my credentials, education, training and experience, and then asked me [with all manner of self-righteous indignation] to explain how it was that a federal agent with my experience, having a college degree in Criminal Justice, and being the Honor Graduate at the federal academy could have done all these intrusive and egregiously abusive things to his client, with no probable cause whatsoever, and expected to be able to get away with it.

It was a remarkably regrettable error on his part, and it afforded everyone present an opportunity to enjoy a little levity at his expense. I wonder if he is currently using that same tenor and tone when asking, "Do you want fries with that?"

Being able to spank him with the sections of Title 19 of the United States Code that apply to Special Agents of the United States Customs Service, and give the Customs Service a unique search authority at the borders, or functional equivalent thereof, was nothing to boast about. It was nothing more than demonstrating that I knew how to do my job. I cannot begin to imagine how any law enforcement officer can exercise any enforcement authority, impacting upon any citizen of the United States, without being able to explain how and why.

Therefore, it embarrasses me to see defense attorneys befuddle federal agents, especially Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, with basic, fundamental questions that they should have anticipated, and should have been prepared to answer on the witness stand. "Can you show me where it says my Client is obligated to pay income tax," is not a trick question.

As Special Agents employed by the federal government, the highest paid criminal investigators employed by any governmental entity in the world, the American public has a right to expect a modicum of professionalism. Can you imagine seeing any traffic cop anywhere mumbling, "Gee, I dunno," in response to a motorist demanding to know, "Where does it say I cannot drive as fast as I want to go?"

Brothers and Sisters, please stop letting the circus performers of the courtroom make us all look stupid, by dramatically whipping out their trusty copy of the Internal Revenue Code, and demanding that you answer the simplest of all tax questions . . . especially when you have to know that the simple question is going to be asked. How could it not be, if you are proposing to put a man in jail for having the temerity to ask it?

I have news for you. If we are going to take the position that, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse," we cannot use that as justification for our own ignorance. It's bad enough to put people in jail for asking a question you won't or didn't answer, and I have a real problem with that. The notion that any of us would have the audacity to presume to put a man in jail for asking a question we cannot answer seems asinine to me beyond all conception.

If we are going to do that, we might as well applaud the burning of Giordano Bruno, and push Rosa Parks to the back of the bus.

The question is asked, and will continue to be asked until you answer it, "Can you show me where it imposes upon my Client the obligation to pay income tax?"

If handed the IRC, start with line item number 5.

  1. Article 1, Section 8, of the United States Constitution, provides that Congress has the power to tax.
  2. Congress makes laws, and ultimately delegates the enforcement of those laws, through the Secretary of the Treasury, to the Internal Revenue Service -- that being the executive office agency that employs IRS agents.
  3. The laws of the United States, as enacted by Congress, are published in a series of volumes, normally referred to as "Titles," collectively called the United States Code.
  4. Title 26 of the United States Code is the Internal Revenue Code
  5. Title 26, Subtitle A is entitled, "Income Taxes."
  6. Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1 is entitled, "Normal Taxes and Surtaxes."
  7. Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter 1 is entitled, "Determination of Tax Liability."
  8. Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter 1, Part 1, is entitled, "Tax on Individuals." Depending upon whether the individual is Single, Married, Head of Household, . . . you will find the imposition of their tax obligation right there.

So please, when asked the most basic of all tax questions, for your sake, for our sake, and for the sake of those reasonable few who are genuinely seeking an answer . . . lose that "deer in the headlights" look, and answer the damn thing.

Personally, I understand that the die hard twit wits of the tax protester movement will not accept that as an answer, and they will go on, and on, and on . . . ad infinitum, ad nauseum, with their insufferably ridiculous arguments. You know that, and I know that but it's not your problem, it's not our problem, and the jurors looking to you for an answer won't care. It will be enough that you answered the question, that you have explained to the jury why THEY pay THEIR taxes, and demonstrated to the satisfaction of those who matter that you know how to do your job.

We'll all be wonderfully proud of you, and the circus performers can go home to stand in front of their mirrors to practice, "Do you want fries with that."

Oracle International
Bill E. Branscum, Investigator
(239) 304-1639


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