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Encyclopedia > The Law that Never Was
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The Law That Never Was: The fraud of the 16th Amendment and personal income tax is a 1985 book by William J. Benson which claims that the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution - commonly known as the income tax amendment - was never properly ratified. Amendment XVI (the Sixteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, authorizing income taxes in their present form, was ratified on February 3, 1913. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


Article V of the U.S. Constitution specifies the ratification process, and requires 3/4 of the States to ratify any amendment proposed by Congress. There were 48 States in the American Union in 1913, meaning that affirmative action of 36 states was required for ratification. In February, 1913, Secretary of State Philander Knox issued a proclamation claiming that 38 states had ratified the amendment.


The book relates how in 1984, Benson began a research project to investigate the process of ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment by traveling to the capitols of the New England states and to the National Archives, and reviewing documents relating to the ratification of the Amendment. Based on his research, Benson claimed that only two states had properly ratified the Amendment. Benson found errors in punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization in the language of the Amendment as ratified by many states, which he asserted meant that those states had not properly ratified the Amendment. Benson further claimed to have found documents suggesting that some states claimed to have ratified the Amendment never voted to ratify it, or voted against ratification. More than one country maintains a national archive: The Canadian Library and Archives Canada The New Zealand Archives New Zealand (formerly National Archives) The United States National Archives and Records Administration The United Kingdom National Archives This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might...


Legal status of Benson's claims

Benson's findings were then raised as legal arguments by tax protesters in cases where such persons denied the obligation to pay income tax. These arguments were rejected by the courts in cases such as Miller v. United States, 868 F.2d 236 (7th Cir. 1989) (per curiam) - The court stated, "We find it hard to understand why the long and unbroken line of cases upholding the constitutionality of the Sixteenth Amendment generally, Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Company . . . and those specifically rejecting the argument advanced in The Law That Never Was, have not persuaded Miller and his compatriots to seek a more effective forum for airing their attack on the federal income tax structure." The court then sanctioned the litigants for advancing a "patently frivolous" position. In United States tax law enforcement, a tax protester (or tax protestor) is an individual who resists or refuses payment of a tax for which the government has determined that person is liable. ... // Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of Illinois Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin The court is based at the Dirksen...


Similar "Sixteenth Amendment arguments" have been uniformly rejected by the courts in other cases including United States v. Thomas, 788 F.2d 1250, 1252 (7th Cir. 1986), cert. den. 107 S.Ct. 187 (1986). In Thomas the court noted that the errors found by Benson had already been investigated by Secretary of State Knox at the time of ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, and had been determined to be insignificant (see Tax protester arguments). See also Ficalora v. Commissioner, 751 F.2d 85, 85-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 9103 (2d Cir. 1984); Sisk v. Commissioner, 791 F.2d 58, 86-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 9433 (6th Cir. 1986); and United States v. Stahl, 792 F.2d 1438, 86-2 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 9518 (9th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 107 S. Ct. 888 (1987). // Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of Illinois Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin The court is based at the Dirksen... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tax protester arguments are a number of heterodox theories that deny that a person has a legal obligation to pay a tax for which the government has determined that person is liable. ...


Benson's Federal income tax problems

In United States v. Benson, 941 F.2d 598, 91-2 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 50,437 (7th Cir. 1991), a criminal case, Benson himself raised the Sixteenth Amendment argument, which was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In this phase of the case, his conviction for tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns was overturned on other grounds and the case was remanded to the trial court. Upon retrial, Benson was again convicted of tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns, and his conviction was upheld on appeal. The conduct for which he was convicted involved over $100,000 of income he did not report on Federal income tax returns. He was sentenced to four years in prison and five years of probation. See United States v. Benson, 67 F.3d 641, 95-2 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 50,540 (7th Cir. 1995).


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