45 Years, 45 Days: A 1976 Introduction to Tax Revolt


For the next 45 days, we'll be celebrating Reason's 45th anniversary by releasing a story a day from the archives—one for each year of the magazine's history. See the full list here.

"The following is an introduction to tax revolt and includes some how-to information," wrote Karl J. Bray in his article "Taxes Are Revolting" from Reason's April 1976 issue. "In publishing it, REASON is not advocating that any of these tactics be pursued by specific individuals; nor is REASON proffering legal advice." Here's a sample of what Bray had to say:

The fifth amendment approach is quite straight-forward: the ex-taxpayer merely places the fifth amendment objection to self-incrimihation in each blank space in the 1040 return where his answer to the question may tend to incriminate him. The U.S. Supreme Court and the appeals courts, in the Sullivan, Bishop, Miranda, Murdock, and other landmark cases, have upheld this approach, providing it is invoked properly. From that point on, Big Brother is responsible for proving a tax liability and initiating civil or criminal action. But a shrewd practitioner of tax avoidance will have covered his trail nicely.