You think you've got a novel way to avoid taxes this year? The IRS is not amused.
Richard B. Levine/Newscom/File
Wrangle over the paperwork. Pull out your pocket Constitution and begin reading aloud. Complain. Bitterly.
But before you take on the Internal Revenue Service's legal right to collect your taxes, read its 83-page(!) report on the tax-avoidance tomfoolery that's already been tried – and failed. Here are our Top 5 frivolous claims for why people don't owe federal taxes:
5. The stickler
Contention: Taxpayers are not required to file a federal income tax return, because the instructions and regulations associated with Form 1040 do not display an Office of Management and Budget control number as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
The legal reasoning here is splitting hairs and didn't fly. In one case, this complaint earned a $4,000 fine for a frivolous suit from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008.
4. The sloth
Contention: The IRS must prepare federal tax returns for a person who fails to file.
The sloth argues that section 6020(b) of the tax code means that the IRS should file taxes for all Americans. The relevant part of the law "merely provides the IRS with a mechanism for determining the tax liability of a taxpayer who has failed to file a return," according to the IRS report. In other words, it's there for you, slacker, but you'll still owe the fines for nonpayment or late payment.
3. The abolitionist
Contention: Compelled compliance with the federal income tax laws is a form of servitude in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.