A former IRS agent who believes citizens are not required to pay federal income taxes was acquitted today on charges he attempted to defraud the government.
Joseph Banister, a Certified Public Accountant in San Jose, Calif., had been telling his clients they don’t need to file federal income tax returns because the 16th Amendment, which gives Congress “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes,” was never properly ratified. A leading figure in the “tax honesty” movement, Banister was taken into custody Nov. 19 by IRS agents and released on $25,000 bond after pleading not guilty.
A jury in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento found him not guilty on a charge of conspiracy and on all three counts of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns for a client.
I don’t think Banister’s defense was entirely predicated on the 16th Amendment question, but in any case, it’s good news that the jury saw through the tax fraud on the part of the IRS. Still, it’s not much use being able to keep the money you earn if you can’t buy any property with it.