Monday, December 11, 2006

The Wages of Tax Evasion Is Jail (Part 1)

In the December 2006 issue of Light on the Law, a publication of Lighthouse Legal Ministries, LLM Attorney Terry Lee Hamilton reported on a sad day in American legal history:

[On November 2, 2006, creation evangelist Kent Hovind and his wife Jo were found guilty by a 12-person jury in a Florida federal court of numerous federal tax offenses. He faces a maximum of 288 years in prison, and she a maximum of 225 years. In previous seminars, Attorney Hamilton has pointed out that Mr. Hovind was following discredited legal theories which resulted in the conviction of several others. We are sad to see such a man (and his wife) follow the same path and now face the same consequences.]

In 2002, at LLM’s Eighth Annual Lighthouse Legal Seminar, Attorney Hamilton conducted a legal session on the topic of “Federal Crackdown on Tax Evasion Schemes and Scams.” The following is from the first part of that legal session:

FEDERAL CRACKDOWN ON TAX EVASION SCHEMES AND SCAMS

In November 1995, when Lighthouse Legal Ministries covered Taxes for Pastor and Church at its first legal seminar, the first specific topic covered in that session was entitled, “The Tithe Is the Lord’s; the Tax Is the Government’s.” LLM’s position then is the same as it is now: “As good stewards, we should be tax minimizers, not tax protesters.”

The government is both Biblically and legally authorized to assess and collect taxes against individuals. Tax protesters and tax evaders are not only breaking the law but also becoming a poor testimony for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the last several years, there has been much talk about a huge overhaul of the methods by which America assesses and collects taxes. Until that time, we must abide by the current system of tax laws.

Before you read the following information, allow me to take two disclaimers:
• I have never been an employee of the IRS.
• I have never been a tax preparer.
My only interest is helping preachers save money and avoid having to pay huge back tax payments, huge interest payments, and huge penalties.

TESTIMONY OF IRS COMMISSIONER BEFORE THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE ON APRIL 11, 2002

Some of the persons and organizations which perpetrate tax schemes and tax scams eloquently, but falsely, claim that the IRS is a rogue agency which intentionally misrepresents the nation’s tax law to unlawfully gouge unwitting taxpayers. Such arguments, frankly, are laughable.
• The IRS enforces laws passed by Congress.
• The IRS is accountable to and reports to Congress annually and as requested by Congress.

On April 11, 2002, Charles O. Rossotti, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, reported to Congress on the continued efforts of the IRS to “identify and combat actively promoted tax schemes,” declaring that such an effort “is our highest compliance priority.” The IRS is not only taking enforcement action against promoters of tax schemes, but also identifying and taking “enforcement action against participating taxpayers, including audits, civil penalties and criminal investigations.” Commissioner Rossotti cited four broad categories of tax schemes, as follows:
1. False description of the law to claim exemption from tax.
2. Misrepresentation of the facts to claim improper deductions and credits.
3. Use of trusts and/or offshore bank accounts to hide income.
4. Abusive tax avoidance transactions.

CONCLUSION

It was a sad day when creation evangelist Kent Hovind learned the truth of the title of this blog article—The Wages of Tax Evasion Is Jail. I do not want any Baptist preachers (and their wives) joining Kent and Jo Hovind in a federal prison. In our next posting, I will finish reprinting the 2002 legal article on “Federal Crackdown on Tax Evasion Schemes and Scams.”

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