It's finally showdown time for Wesley Snipes, star of the vampire film series "Blade," who in real life is facing off against the IRS.
As blogged about previously (here, here and here), Snipes is charged with conspiracy to defraud the government, filing a false claim for a $7 million refund and failure to file tax returns for the six years starting in 1999.
His trial begins today in Ocala, Fla. The actor's attorneys are expected to argue that Snipes is not actually required to pay taxes.
Oh, Wesley! If only it were that easy.
Uncle Sam usually wins: Sure, some of these anti-tax nuts have had some success. The New York Times, in an article about the Snipes trial, notes that a few juries have acquitted some prominent tax resisters in recent years.
But the article also points out that even when the government doesn't win on the criminal side, it has succeeded in collecting the taxes through civil enforcement.
And in most cases, federal courts have uniformly rejected arguments based on the theory that Section 861 of the Tax Code does not list wages as taxable. That's the basis of Snipes' defense. Eight people have been sent to prison after losing such cases.
Getting the word out: Maybe during court recesses, Snipes should read "Why Pay Taxes? The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments."
The IRS document looks at some of the more common false "legal" arguments made by those who say they don't have to follow federal tax laws. Each contention is briefly explained, followed by a discussion of the legal authority that rejects the contention.
At this point, Snipes probably will want to concentrate on the document's final section. It illustrates penalties imposed on those pursuing frivolous cases.