IRS Loses A Big One
Mon Aug 11 21:25:41 2003

IRS: Certificate of Non-Existence
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IRS Loses A Big One
Memphis Pilot Acquitted Of Tax Evasion
Charged With Filing "False" W-4s

On Friday, a Memphis federal jury acquitted FedEx pilot Vernice Kuglin of six counts of felony Tax Evasion and Willful Failure to File tax returns.

Ms. Kuglin's attorneys, Tax Honesty Movement barristers Larry Becraft and Robert G. Bernhoft, told reporters that Kuglin was indicted seven months ago and had refused to plead the case out for a lesser sentence. During her testimony Kuglin testified that since 1995, she had sent numerous letters to the IRS requesting that they inform her of what law required her to pay the Individual Income Tax. To this day, she has not received an answer.

At 1:30 Friday afternoon, the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.

After the jury had been excused the U.S. Attorney reportedly demanded that the Judge order the defendant to file her forms, pay her taxes and obey the law. The Judge reportedly replied "Sir, I don't work for the IRS."

The case is: U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) # 03-CR-20111, USA v. Kuglin.

The news story below comes from the August 9th edition of the Memphis daily newspaper, The Commercial Appeal:

Jury acquits pilot, who questioned IRS, of tax-evasion counts

By Shirley Downing
August 9, 2003

A federal jury Friday found FedEx pilot Vernice Kuglin not guilty of evading income taxes on $920,000.

The question of tax payment was unresolved at the end of the five-day trial.

"I think it is safe to assume the IRS will attempt civil collection, but she is not guilty of tax evasion," said defense attorney Robert Bernhoft of Milwaukee.

"I feel justified," a grinning Kuglin said after the verdict was returned at mid--afternoon. She stood outside the federal building, chatting with supporters and jurors.

Federal prosecutor Joe Murphy was not available for comment.

Kuglin, 58, was charged with six counts of tax evasion that could have meant up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

The government accused Kuglin of filing false W4 forms for the period from 1996 to 2001.

Kuglin, a pilot for FedEx since 1985, said she had paid taxes like anyone else for most of her life. But about 10 or 11 years ago, she began to question the federal tax system. She began to read court documents, legal opinions and the federal tax code.

She said she found what she felt were contradictions. She wanted to know where in the federal tax code it said she was liable for taxes.

Kuglin wrote the Internal Revenue Service twice in 1995 with questions but said she didn't get a response.

Murphy, in closing arguments on Thursday, said Kuglin did have an opportunity to discuss her situation with the IRS, to learn what she owed and what documents she was required to file "and she didn't."

Defense attorney Larry Becraft of Huntsville, Ala., said Kuglin decided mandatory payment of income taxes "did not apply to her."

After the verdict Friday, Becraft said the federal tax code is a confusing conglomeration that "at best is a walking due process violation."

He said the average American simply doesn't understand the tax code.

Juror Barbara Snodgras of Memphis said the jury did not convict because "we all felt that the prosecution didn't prove its case."

When asked if she planned to start paying federal income taxes again, Kuglin replied: "I will pay all the taxes for which I am liable."

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Otto Skinner's articles and books are filled with research and case cites. He has strong opinions about what he views as the misinformation circulating in the Patriot Movement. Of course, one man's "misinformation" is another man's "solid research". Who is smart enough to figure out, much less announce, who is right? We can learn much from many and should be grateful to all who struggle to find and share the truth. Take personal responsibility for the information you choose to accept and utilize, and don't blame others when you realize too late that you overlooked an essential fact. Otto provides some case law to debunk some of the approaches used by several Tax Movement attorneys and strategists. This is important information; what is disappointing, perhaps, is that he does not provide much in the way of winning cases where his particular viewpoint formed the strategic cornerstone. I am still in the process of reading Otto's books and find them very well written and loaded with research which would have taken me literally hundreds of hours to dig out myself. So, even if I wind up disagreeing with Mr. Skinner, purchasing and studying his books will have been well worth the time and money.

DETAILS OF THE Senate Finance Committee's impending
proposals to protect taxpayers against reported Internal
Revenue Service abuses are still in outline form, but the
broad strokes announced March 24 by Chairman William Roth,
R-Del., are already drawing some criticism from top tax
lawyers--much as the House version did when it was passed
late last year. Especially controversial is a provision in
the Roth proposal that, like its House counterpart, would
conditionally shift the burden of proof in court proceedings
to the IRS. While the House bill, H.R. 2676, would require
the IRS to prove its case in favor of imposing a higher tax
liability in a given tax year only if the taxpayer can
demonstrate that he or she had "fully cooperated" with the
agency prior to litigation, the Senate version would drop
"fully" and ask only that the taxpayer be able to show past
cooperation before the burden shifted.

"Perhaps dropping the
word 'fully' levels the playing field somewhat between the
IRS and the taxpayer," noted James L. Malone III, a partner
at Chicago's McDermott Will & Emery, who heads the firm's
federal tax controversy group. But "whether you use the term
'fully cooperate' or 'cooperate,' at the end of the day it
doesn't make much difference, because you can still debate
whether the taxpayer has satisfied the standard" and shown
the requisite cooperation.

Also, like the House bill, the
Senate bill, expected to reach the floor before the middle
of April, will contain provisions that would extend the
attorney-client common-law privilege, which protects
confidential communications to clients, to certified public
accountants and to other parties who represent taxpayers
before the IRS. Its backers contend that this provision will
not only provide parity between attorneys and CPAs, but will
also give taxpayers added protection against the disclosure
of legitimate tax-planning strategies. But critics such as
Lawrence B. Gibbs, a partner at Washington, D.C.'s Miller &
Chevalier Chartered, warn against a "potential disconnect
here," because accountants have an overriding duty to
disclose to the public many of the documents they have
audited and certified as accurate.

"This confidentiality
provision misses the mark in failing to meet the concerns
expressed in the past by the Supreme Court, especially in
its 1984 Arthur Young decision, holding that accountants'
first responsibility is to serve as a watchdog for the
investing public," argued Mr. Malone, referring to U.S. v.
Arthur Young & Co., 465 U.S. 805. "Here, Congress seems to
be saying that an accounting firm with information that its
malpractice lawyers think should be disclosed to the public
can nevertheless refuse to give that same information to the
IRS." Indeed, many tax lawyers feel the latest reform effort
is yet another in a disappointing series of attempts to
restore credibility to the nation's income tax system.

For instance, the much ballyhooed Taxpayer Relief Act, signed
into law last year, does translate into a whopping $95
billion tax cut, conceded Mr. Gibbs, an IRS commissioner in
the Reagan Administration. But "virtually none" of the act's
changes affect the 1997 tax returns due April 15. "The 1997
Act was one of the most complex and oversold pieces of
legislation in U.S. history," Mr. Gibbs said. "Its many
phase-ins, phase-outs and deferred effective dates...are
simply for the purpose of keeping the costs manageable" and
a calculated attempt to avoid a showdown over escalating
Social Security and Medicare costs.

A review of the 1997 act by New York tax attorney and certified public

accountant Sidney Kess confirms that all but a few of the law's highly
publicized tax breaks have deferred effective dates that
could directly affect the self-employed attorney or small
law firm, including a liberalized home-office deduction and
a more generous self-employed health insurance deduction.
Other deferred tax breaks include those relating to federal
transfer taxes on estates and gifts, as well as to the
first-time $400 per-dependent child income tax credit. Prof.
Jeffrey G. Sherman, of the Illinois Institute of Technology,
Chicago- Kent College of Law, said that some of the 1997 tax
breaks actually kick in much later. For instance, the
deduction for the self-employed who pay medical insurance
premiums jumps from 40 percent to as much as 50 percent in
the years 2000 and 2001, but to 100 percent only in 2007.
Similarly, the 1997 relief act phases in its increase in the
unified estate and gift tax credit so that a million dollars
will be able to be transferred by an individual to others
tax-free in 2006, compared with about $625,000 in 1998.

The 1997 act did provide some immediate relief for taxpayers,
including the lower rate on capital gains. And it prohibited
tax penalties for underpayments resulting from changes made
by the act through Jan. 15 of this year. Senator Roth's
proposed IRS reforms also include some good news for
taxpayers facing penalties. Under the legislation, interest
and penalties would be suspended when the IRS fails to
contact the taxpayer more than a year after the return in
question has been filed. Another closely watched reform is
the Delaware Republican's promise to restrict IRS property
seizures while taxpayers are appealing an assessment through
IRS channels during a 30-day window of opportunity.

Senator Roth says he also wants a more "independent" IRS appeals
process, along with new restrictions on interagency
communications, to ensure fairer treatment of a given case.
While these proposals appear to help taxpayers, there is
some doubt about their efficacy. "My greatest concern is
that these annual changes we're now seeing to the Tax
Code...are becoming just so much blue smoke and and
mirrors," cautioned Mr. Gibbs.

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