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The questions that are never asked, Part II

By Vin Suprynowicz

JAN. 8, 2001

Click Here for Part I

Last time, we were asking whether the bookkeepers at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Mass. -- who had informed co-worker Michael McDermott they intended to start sending his paycheck to the IRS this week based on receipt of a government "Notice of Intent to Levy," and many of whom subsequently paid a tragic price for their ignorance when said 42-year-old misfit quite wrongfully shot and killed them in their workplace the day after Christmas -- were aware that IRS "notices of intent" to seize paychecks or bank accounts are not legally binding unless accompanied by a court order signed by a judge.

Did those now-deceased bookkeepers bother to ask why "paragraph A" of the legal code citation is always deleted from the "authorizing" fine print on the back of the IRS' standard "seize-his-paycheck" Form 668W (it starts with "paragraph B") -- the reason being that paragraph A specifies that said law authorizes the use of such onerous methods only against employees of the federal government?

Here is that carefully deleted paragraph:

"Levy and distraint. TITLE 26, Subtitle F, CHAPTER 64, Subchapter D, Sec. 6331

"STATUTE: (a)Authority of Secretary

"If any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same within 10 days after notice and demand, it shall be lawful for the Secretary to collect such tax (and such further sum as shall be sufficient to cover the expenses of the levy) by levy upon all property and rights to property ... belonging to such person or on which there is a lien provided in this chapter for the payment of such tax. Levy may be made upon the accrued salary or wages of any officer, employee, or elected official, of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any agency or instrumentality of the United States or the District of Columbia, by serving a notice of levy on the employer (as defined in section 3401(d)) of such officer, employee, or elected official. ...")

(See web site -- which contains a citation from Clark County, Nevada Magistrate Victor Miller's historic opinion in "Williams vs. Boulder Dam Credit Union.")

Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1917 alimony decision in Gould vs. Gould, 245 US 151, ( vol=151) ruled:

"In the interpretation of statutes levying taxes it is the established rule not to extend their provisions by implication beyond the clear import of the language used, or to enlarge their operation so as to embrace matters not specifically pointed out. In case of doubt, they are construed most strongly against the government and in favor of the citizen."

This means that, for instance, the word "includes" in a tax law is a "term of limitation" -- it means "includes only."

Thus, the paragraph above means paycheck and bank account levies can be made only against

"any officer, employee, or elected official, of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any agency or instrumentality of the United States or the District of Columbia."

Furthermore, under Title 26, United States Code, the Social Security tax is imposed in chapter 21, subtitle C, in which Section 3121 defines "employment" as

"any service, of whatever nature, performed (A) by an EMPLOYEE for the person employing him, irrespective of the citizenship or residence of either, (I) WITHIN THE UNITED STATES" ...

and then continues in Section 3121(e)(2) to declare that, for purposes of this specific statute,

"The term 'United States' when used in a geographical sense includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa."

"Includes only."

How can this be?

"The FICA tax is administered by the IRS as if it were a direct tax on individuals," responds Gordon Phillips of the tax education group Inform America ( "To be constitutional, any direct tax on individuals must be imposed by law only outside the 50 states of the Union: i.e., only in the four island possessions ... despite the IRS' deception of the public into falsely believing the tax applies within the 50 states of the union."

So, under the bizarre definition of "United States" adopted to purposely mislead us in this part of the Internal Revenue code, it would appear neither Michael McDermott, nor most of the rest of us, live in "the United States" as defined for this section -- or thus fall under its requirements.

In addition to which, Mr. Phillips points out, the tax regulations to enforce the aforementioned paycheck seizure statute -- applying only to federal employees -- are not promulgated under 26 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations for Title 26 "Internal Revenue Code"), but instead appear in 27 CFR ("Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms"), meaning the provision "applies only to taxes due on those excise taxable products, anyway."

"None of us in the tax education division of the constitutional revival movement have ever heard of any recrimination or retribution whatsoever befalling the plucky participating employer" (who voluntarily applied for and chooses to use use an Employer Identification Number) "who dishonors -- that is to say, refuses -- a 'Notice Of Intent To Levy' based on the IRS' failure to include the Warrant of Distraint -- the court order as required by law before the government can take the property of a citizen," Phillips goes on.

But, "Ninety-nine percent of all American employers are, as are most loyal Americans, deeply chicken ..." Phillips continues. "Upon receiving the bogus 'levy,' they drop their pants to their ankles, snap briskly to attention, smartly salute the IRS and, fearing that they may be audited for failure to comply, begin shoveling the hapless worker's daily bread to the government as fast as their busy little fingers can cut the checks to the IRS. Can you spell 'due process'?"

Yet is any reporter calling the IRS today, asking them "How do you feel about the outcome of your purposeful misapplication of the tax laws in the case of Michael McDermott of Wakefield, Mass.? Is it true that the suspect Mr. McDermott was under no legal obligation to apply for a Social Security number or fill out a so-called 'W-4' form, in order to take a job in one of the 50 states, in the first place? That he may well have been self-assessing himself for the income tax in error?

"When the employer's bookkeeper called and asked you what to do about your seize-the-paycheck notice -- the notice you sent out which led directly to these seven deaths, without telling them you're only authorized under that statute to seize paychecks of federal employees -- did you point out to them it's not valid or binding without a signed court order? Do you have that court order and could you show it to us, today?"

Of course not. Questions like these are never asked.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and editor of Financial Privacy Report (subscribe by calling Nicholas at 612-895-8757.) His book, "Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998," is available by dialing 1-800-244-2224; or via web site Vin Suprynowicz,