The Meaning of Frivolous in IRS Tax Protestor cases

taxes_1Having dealt with a number of tax protestors, I have noticed one thing common among all of them and something they take great offense towards. Its the use of the term “frivolous”.

The IRS classifies tax protester arguments as “frivolous” arguments. I have tried to explain this term to tax protestors because there is a difference between the common usage and legal usage of the term “frivolous”. They usually get hung up on this.

“Frivolous” from a legal standpoint means to be legally insufficient. “Frivolous” in common usage means to be lacking of value or purpose. So, to be legally “frivolous” does not necessarily mean to be lacking in value or purpose.

Make no bones about it though, being classified as legally “frivolous” does mean the argument is not going to stand up in court. Which is the yardstick for legal sufficiency.

In the case of “frivolous” arguments under the IRS, they are using the term as it applies to legal argument. Case precedent and IRS code dictate that certain arguments used by tax protestors are indeed legally insufficient.

I know the tax protestor position is that their arguments are not “frivolous” because they have value and purpose. But value and purpose does not make it legally sufficient.

Their claim is that their arguments have not been ruled on yet by the Supreme Court. Maybe so. But this still leaves their arguments in the legal netherworld.

Unless the tax protestor camp comes up with some new legal reasoning as to why they aren’t obligated to voluntarily pay their taxes, they are at a dead end. The IRS and the tax courts are and have been tracking the tax protestor arguments and overruling them at every turn.

The IRS is so serious about combating “frivolous” tax protestor positions that they updated their web page on March 2014 to include substantial information  on “frivolous” arguments.  The page is entitled “The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments“. Its intended as a serious notice to all who plan on advancing “frivolous” legal positions.

The page goes in depth with the more common tax protestor arguments. It even goes so far as to caution any lawyers who advance any “frivolous” legal positions, that they will be sanctioned.

If you decide to advance a “frivolous” legal position, this shows you your opposition’s legal position and what you need to overcome. But if you decide to advance your legal position based on  the current and enunciated “frivolous” positions, its foolish and doomed to failure.

I think its interesting that the IRS updated their web page around the same time that the START report came out naming Sovereign Citizens as the number one terror threat to the United States. Extreme Anti-Tax groups where ranked 12th, with no specific group being named under this moniker.

Of note, the actual acts of violence committed by either Sovereign Citizens or Extreme Anti-Tax groups is almost non-existent unlike Islamic Extremists/Jihadists which ranked second in the START report. Instead, Sovereign Citizens and Extreme Anti-Tax groups have been labeled paper terrorists for voluminous legal filings, in some instances.

Using a totality of the circumstances reasoning lens, it makes me wonder if there isn’t some hidden legal merit to the tax protestor position. At its essence, isn’t their position akin to the Boston Tea Party? Just my thoughts.

us_tax_court