Irwin Schiff, Meet Wilhelm Reich


Mr. Irwin "You Don't Have to Pay Income Tax!" Schiff has been ordered to stop telling people that they don't have to pay income tax by a federal judge. Not only that, but he is no longer legally permitted to distribute his book The Federal Mafia.

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  1. Joe…

    You aren’t paying attention. In our welfare state, the taxpayers are paying for the deadbeats.

  2. David: Printing lies isn’t fraud, and it is protected.

    What he should do is post the book on a website. Let people copy it for free, make donations in e-gold. Probably would make more money and it would be a good FU to Mr. Evan Davis.

  3. Re fraud: I’m no lawyer, so I don’t know what precedent there may be for prosecuting the selling of books with allegedly fraudulent info. The thought occurs that maybe the question of fraud would be best left to the civil arena. Which prompts the question of what prompted the government to take this case. Has anyone complained that they were defrauded? If not, I would say the government is out of line at the very least. I noticed nothing in the linked article indicates such a complaint.

    Re commercial speech: True, for better or worse, commercial speech is subject to regulation. But I think the government needs to show that the regulation has commercial (as opposed to political or expressive) purpose. Which brings us back to the fraud issue.

    Re facilitating illegal activity. I’ve always thought the SC has previously ruled that the connection between speech and illegal activity has to be pretty direct to hold the speech accountable. A lot more direct that simply writing (and selling) a book advocating or enabling the illegal activity. I hope I’m right!

    Luckily, it’s a *temporary* restraining order….

  4. You actually don’t have to pay taxes. You also don’t have to stay out of jail. As my mom would say, “If Irwin said it was okay to jump of a bridge….”

  5. Lazarus,

    You seem to imply that printing lies isn’t fraud by itself, but selling printed lies can be prosecuted as fraud?

  6. fyodor,
    I am no lawyer but it seems common sense that printing and selling a book (even one filled allegedly with untruths) is protected speech under 1st ammend.

    RE: fraud — perhaps if he sold under a “gurantee” or something…even then he may be sued civally but it is wrong for the DOJ to prevent him from printing it.

  7. There is some truth to Mr.Schiff’s proclamation.

    Review your application for a SSN(Social Security Number), read the very fine print, of course. If you will remember up until @ 10 years ago, SSN were applied for. Not like today were there issued at birth.

    But we all know the “Catch22” of this voluntary action.

    You can not legally hold a job without a SSN.

    So no one actually bothers to read the fine print.

    This is not a new phenomenon. I recall about 20 years ago there was a sizable movement advocating the idea that income tax was strictly voluntary.

  8. Steve, I cut some slack for people who can’t afford to pay taxes, or who need some help. It’s the ones who are just too damn cheap that that get my Mountain Goat.

  9. Just like I’m happy to help those who can’t help themselves versus those who are too freakin’ lazy to take a job.

  10. joe: You do know you’re talking past the other side (of which I am a member), right? Taxation is legitimized theft, etc.

    A person’s personality has no bearing on the validity of their arguments. Jefferson’s comments on liberty are no less valid, in and of themselves, just because he owned slaves.

    However, the “tax law says you don’t have to pay!” crowd is still absolutely loony. When you’re arguing that certain funds don’t have to be paid, and the other side gets paid with those very funds, plus the other side has the ultimate legal say-so on the matter, winning is not an option.

  11. If printing and selling lies is fraud, then the world’s religions have a lot of explaining to do. (I’ll leave it to the readership to determine which ones are lying but the fact is they contratict each other so someone is not telling the truth!). The difficulty here is that this guy actually believes what he says – even if it is demonstrably not true.

    Religious speech is understood to be protected, but really it’s just a codified way of saying that your opinion is protected and it should be so for areas other than religion. Therefore if you are selling your opinions (like any author of non-fiction works does) they do not necessarily have to be true to be legally protected speech. Fraud, on the other hand, has more to do with actions than speech. If I agree to sell you my car and after I get your money I don’t turn over the keys or turn over the keys to a different, lesser or defective model relative to what we agreed upon, then that’s fraud. However, if you are selling ‘advice’ I suppose it gets grayer, since one could argue that the ‘content’ is defective.

    Someone else pointed out that this could be viewed as a civil manner. Another approach when it comes to the sale of speech per se, is to let the buyer beware.

  12. I understand the government’s motives: all these tax protestor cases are clogging up the courts. So the Justice Dept seeks an injunction. Btw, this is not the first. Another tax scam promoter was forced to print disclaimers on his website as part of his settlement. He also had to turn over customer lists to the IRS.

    As to what a “good guy” is, I lawfully reduce tax receipts of the Treasury. How better to use 11 years of college?

  13. My question is whether the information is actually fraudulent. He claims to offer a reward for anyone who can find a law compelling a person to pay income tax. Has he ever had to pay (or simply refused to do so)?

    Don’t misunderstand, I think you would have to be either very foolish or very brave to follow his advice, but he makes some good points. My main question for him would be this — Since the government would have to charge tax evaders with a crime, under what law are they charged?

  14. A further question on the fraud-vs-1st issue: is it fraud if the speaker/writer believes it to be true? Is it “facilitating illegal conduct” if the author’s whole point is that it isn’t illegal? (It probably falls under the same category as the tax laws themselves, unfortunately: when the guys with the guns are determined to enforce one particular point of view, what’s law mean anyway?)

    I wish Schiff a lot of success in all his endeavors, but his picture should be in the dictionary next to “quixotic”.

  15. Seems to me to be a pretty clear violation of the first amendment. I hope he appeals.

  16. Well, the supreme Court has upheld tighter restrictions on commercial speech than political speech. I guess once you start selling your political speech, you convert it to commercial.

    I work in the tax field as one of the good guys, and each day review the prior day’s tax cases. The quantity of pro se, Hendersen Nevada (non)taxpayers this year is tremendous.

    I keep rooting for the tax protestors, since normalcy is defined by the ends, but the personal toll for the people following Schiff’s advice must be intolerable.

  17. “…the First Amendment does not protect speech that facilitates illegal conduct” – DOJ attorney Evan Davis

    Does anyone have a Supreme Court opinion that says as much? Or is that just a hotdog attorney blowing smoke, asserting his wishful thinking as fact? The alleged standard of “facilitating” illegal conduct seems very suspect. For instance, anti-war groups are now advocating “active resistance,” with the goal of disrupting the war machine. Is such speech not protected by the First Amendment (at least until someone actually declares war and suspends the constitution under martial law)?

  18. First, let me say that I don’t like income taxes any more than anyone else here. Like Heinlein, I consider them to be one of the three causes of the death of the Republic (which is well underway). Still, wouldn’t Schiff’s book be considered fraudulent? He is telling direct bald-faced lies, about the law, in a book. If he were saying that paying income taxes ought to be voluntary, that would be one thing. Saying that they are is another.

  19. What’s a “good guy,” Goat? A deadbeat who makes the rest of us pay his way?

  20. >>What’s a “good guy,” Goat? A deadbeat who makes the rest of us pay his way?

  21. Rob H,

    Yeah, I know I’m way in the minority around these parts. But an echo chamber is never a good thing.

    “Taxation is legitimized theft.” Yeah, and imprisonment is legitimized kidnapping, war is legitimized murder, and warranted searches are legitimized trespassing – except that they’re not. The nouns here are crimes, and the fact that the actions are legitimized by a government means they’re not crimes – unless you believe that this distinction is meaningless, and don’t support the existance of a state that protects property and individual rights.

    Goat, I’ve got nothing against people paying lower taxes through legal means. People should take the home mortgage interest deduction, for example, because it is good public policy for people to have more money to spend on buying a home. These things were put into the tax code to promote positive ends. Congress decided that it is more important to encourage money to be spent on certain things than to collect that money. That’s cool, from any point of view.

    I just don’t like jackoffs who want to reap the benefits of our advanced society without paying the costs.

  22. Here’s what the government should do to stop Schiff, that is if we had a honest government that would give due process. They would take Schiff to court ,open up the Internal Revenue Code and say here’s the law that makes you liable for the tax. But they can’t do that because “there is no provision which specifically and unequivocally requires an individual to pay income taxes.”(Mark L. Forman,legislative correspondent for Sen. Daniel Inouye) So they ban his book instead!

  23. SHE,

    “You can not legally hold a job without a SSN” is a wrong statement. You don’t need a SSN to do anything in this world. Getting one after majority age is purely voluntary. Continuing to use one given to, or obtained by, your parents on your behalf is also purely voluntary. THERE IS NO LAW REQUIRING AN AMERICAN TO HAVE A SSN TO LIVE OR WORK IN ANY OF THE 50 STATES. If you contend there is, please indicate the relevant law here: ________ . I will concede that it may be very tough for you to land a job if you try to stand up for your rights on this issue. The problem is “employment-at-will:” neither you nor them has to have any particular reason to discontinue the employment relationship.

    It is better for you if you can just honestly say “I don’t have a SSN.” Most of us, however, are already in the position of having one, probably having used it past majority age (creating prima facie evidence against ourselves), and are now in the position of having to try to divest ourselves of this pestilence.

    Use of Social Security Numbers on Licenses Illegal:

    Get a DL or permit for your child w/o a SSN:'s_permit.htm

    There is erroneous info floating about out there that states that a company MUST have a SSN from you for [unnamed] reason. It certainly isn’t law though. There is a law (though I can’t cite it at the moment) requiring a company to *request* a SSN, and that if the person applying for the job doesn’t have one, then the company just has to certify that the SSN/TIN was requested and not provided (either b/c the requestee doesn’t have one or declined to provide it) and the issue normally blows over. Caveats include: possible “backup” withholding problems, change of heart by your new employer to retain you within the probationary period (90 days oftentimes) but who’s true reason (troublemaker b/c of SSN issue) for letting you go may not be disclosed to you.

  24. joe,

    It is exactly people like you who errant ideology about government concern me.

    First off, the government exists b/c of the free association of free humans for mutual benefit toward certain limited purposes (at least that was the initial intent): the preservation of life, liberty, and property. It is not the purpose of, nor any business of, the government to decide what’s good for any American by formulating *policies* of any sort, mortagage deductions, wealth redistribution, or otherwise. Where do you or the govt get off deciding that it is good for anyone to own a home and to so attempt to incentivize this position through the govt (which has no authority to do any such thing). And surely you can agree that unequal protection/application of law/policy, such as by trying to create a reduced tax burden for a special class (homeowners), is patently unfair to those excluded. It is also public policy that the US govt squander its ill-gotten gains extracted from American pockets on BS like welfare, foreign aid, black projects, space exploration, etc. NOWHERE in the Constitution is any level of American govt permitted to STEAL, by both force and deceit, from Americans to support such agendas. Furthermore, if you have “voting power,” and actually use it, to lend an air of legitimacy to these unlawful actions of government, your political ignorance about the purpose of American govt is fully utilized by those in power and you are all that much more of a threat to every American.

  25. It would benifit all to go to and get a more complete picture of what the statutes actually say about the income tax. It is legal for the federal Government to tax “taxable” income, but not legal to tax “all” income. So, what is taxable, and what is not? that is the question.
    However, the law itself is not frivolous.
    The only reason the IRS makes that claim, is to divert from actually looking at the truth in the statutes.
    The IRS can’t prove by the law that blanketly taxing all those earning a living is lawful, and they don’t want anyone else to prove that what they have been doing is misapplying the “specific” law to fit the “general” public … so, their best attempt to continue their unlawful practice, is to keep that knowledge from spreading.

    An injunction is an order to “Shut -up”. The thing is, Injunction or not… too many people are learning for themselves what the law actually says, instead of believing blindly what some agent tells them, whose livelyhood is based on taking your finances.
    There are those who do have taxable income, but you may be surprised to find out how limiting those who do, really are.
    If some one wants to volunteer to pay even if they are not required to do so, that’s up to them. Just be thankful for those who will not pay the bully on the corner and do seek justice.

  26. I dissagree with the court in this case and as one said, the court is prosecuting the case and is not being impartial as it should. I have listened to Mr. Schiff and even purchased some of his work, however, I don’t agree with Irwin. As someone said, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    I have studied the tax issues for over 27 years and have read about everything that has been issued from the various parties. In doing so I assume the responsibility to personally check out the conclusions that each group makes. And this is the responsibility of all free Americans. If the individual does not have the insight to search out for themselves then they deserve what they get.

    The court in this case feels that they are the great protector of society, a position they were never given by the people. It is the principle of delegation, if this is truly a government of the people and all authority comes from the people, then the government can only do what the people have a right to do. This means that if one chooses to be stupid, then they can be stupid. No one has the right to compel them otherwise.

    Remember what Hamilton said in the Federalist (#10) “Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, that it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.”

    I can’t help but include this last quote from John Stuart mill (On Liberty);

    ?He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself, employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgement to foresee, activity to gather materials for decision, discrimination to decide, firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision. And these qualities he requires and exercises exactly in proportion as the part of his conduct which he determines according to his own judgement and feelings is a large one. It is possible that he might be guided in some good path, and kept out of harm?s way, without any of these things. But what will be his comparative worth as a human being? It really is of importance, not only what men do, but what manner of men they are that do it. Among the works of man, …, the first in importance surely is man himself.?

    Good luck Irwin and to my friends,


  27. I am reading “The Great Income Tax Hoax” by Schiff. It is the history of the income tax and should be required reading for every high school student as well as everyone reading this posting. I’ve read much material by the other anti-tax people, and have always come to the point that I would not care to rest my future on such idealistic views. Mr. Schiff on the other hand relies on the law (and is the leading seller of the Internal Revenue Code book…951pages in all)! The problem is that the IRS is taking enforcement clauses from the Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms sections and using it in the Income Tax section. Why, because there is NO enforcement section for the income tax…..because it is by law, voluntary! Also, look in the front of your code book under “liability”. There are listings as to whom is liable for what tax. But guess what….no income tax liability is listed. Why? because it would be unconstitutional to impose such a liability. The income tax can only excist as long as the public remains ignorant and fearful. As for the IRS empoyees reading this, you best liquidate your assets and put them in a safe place. It is almost open season on you. The 9th district court just handed the IRS and 40 agents there heads, giving Lynn Meredith it’s blessing on a 100 million dollar suit. Each agent is PERSONALLY liable. There is another suit slated for February 2004. It is a class action suit against the IRS for $500 billion. I predict that by next year at this time there will be no less than 2000 lawsuits lined up to bat. There will likely be a national sales tax implemented, just to fund the construction of a new federal prison to hold all the IRS agents that will be “checking in” shortly. Happy Trails, Violosity

  28. The Federal Mafia: How the Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Income Taxes & How Americans Can Fight Back by Irwin Schiff. He has been publishing and selling this book since 1990 and has been presenting seminars for at least that long. It took the federal government 13 years to come up with the notion that this book is a tax scam? What’s more likely is that the government fears he is starting to reach too many people with his message, and they can’t seem to refute or prove his claims to be untrue. Any citizen could make their own decision, just read his book(s) or listen to his taped seminar ? oh, wait, you can’t do that unless you know someone who already owns one or the other (or both) at this time. Our government doesn’t want you to have access to this information. Doesn’t this seem like out and out censorship to you? It does to me! It seems strange to me of the (fortuitous?) timing of all of this. The hearing took place, with only two days notice to Schiff, on the same day as the war in Iraq started. Thus, the media was so focused on Iraq that this action seems to have just about slipped under the radar. All I saw was a very small article listed under the National News column in our local newspaper.
    No jury of impartial citizens was asked to pass judgment on the Government?s claim but a sole Federal judge, who had not even read the book, made the determination. In April 2003, the Government sought to make the Temporary Order permanent. There was a 20 day continuance, which is still ongoing at this time. Remember, these are federal officers (DOJ attorneys, and judges) who are doing this. Didn’t they take an oath to PROTECT AND DEFEND (NOT ATTACK)the Constitution of the United States, which includes our Bill of Rights?

  29. I think everyone is missing a key element.

    They are not sueing Schiff for tax evasion, they are sueing him to get his book out of the publics hands. Hello???? Are we paying attention? Would it not be more effective to win a case against him for tax evasion?
    If his information is so wrong, why would they need to silence him in any other way than showing that he is wrong?
    They must fear something from his information, otherwise they would not have made it the target.

    I have been watching several of the situations with the biggest tax protesters, none of them are being sued for tax evasion, they are only being sued to get them to stop selling their information.

  30. I love Irwin Schiff, and all of those other brave “illegal-tax protesters” (an IRS term altered only by the addition of a hyphen), except one: the dodo who used to make a few bucks promoting Irwin Schiff’s views, but then turned on Irwin and sued him when the IRS put him in its vise. I suspect the IRS may have put the poor fellow up to suing Irwin as a way to discredit Irwin and perhaps as part of a plea bargain in return for which the IRS will go easy on him in its criminal prosecution of the poor sap.

    As the IRS knows all too well, Irwin is a tough, combative fighter who is quick to castigate other “illegal-tax protesters” who are also selling alternative “methods” for defeating the federal government’s income-tax scam. This tendency amongst leading “illegal-tax protesters” to attack each other and all contesting methodologies for screwing the IRS and avoiding the tax is probably the best thing that the IRS has going for it. Indeed, I suspect that with their good sapper mentality, IRS agent-provocateurs do their utmost to foment such infighting. As long as we “illegal-tax protester” keep attacking one another, the IRS will keep winning skirmishes, snickering at our stupidity, and laughing all the way to the Federal Reserve Bank. You can be sure that the wimpering army of boot-licking accountants, lawyers and tax preparers who take their cut of the IRS’s booty get their biggest thrills watching us “illegals” self-destruct.

  31. Anyone who thinks Schiff is without merit in his arguments should check out the videos & other media at
    There are former IRS agents, attorneys & accountants who have done YEARS of research saying about the same thing as Schiff!
    They also seem to have a handle on IRS doublespeak. Fascinating!

  32. He’s still here! Need I say more?


  33. He is a reincarnated George Washington
    and Ben Franklin all in one. I am honored to have
    served with Irwin at Club Fed.
    They told me he was dead. Show use the law that makes us liable for income tax.

  34. Anybody out there who can post who actually has implemented any of this? I was born into an SSN- no choice there! No point where I ever made a descision to enter into a contract of indentured servitude! Tell us how it goes! The need for this big bloated liberty eating government to support itself out of our hides does not justify the creation or use of a predatory, defineatly not for “we the people” orwellian style institution like the IRS. Even if you believe we should all pay taxes, surely nobody can believe the guilty until proven innocent, fascist and yes -mafia style storm troopers unleashed upon us is okay. These people take otherwise productive citizens and extort money from them for clerical errors in their overly complex system, punish them with audits at random and them sometimes put them in jail for god’s sake!

    Its just not right.

    If you don’t pay taxes kudos to you!

  35. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/25/2004 06:28:30
    Without hope, the rest is nothing.

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