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We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Evidence

Posted on November 29th, 2006 by Marc Stevens

I’ve been saying for years that statists live in a dream world, especially those in government. Evidence – tangible facts – apparently means nothing to them. As I posted in my last article, Bar Associations are Cults, statists, lawyers in particular, look to the conclusion first and if the conclusion does not match their model of the world, then the supporting facts are irrelevant. The “legal” term for such “logic” is “reductio ad absurdum.”

No where is this more evident than with “taxes.” Even if a supporting fact is acknowledged as true, statists claim it’s “being taken out of context” or not being presented logically. No further discussion is necessary. With “taxes”, the following opinions are all that matter:

  1. Everyone born in the United States is a Citizen.
  2. Citizens are subject to the laws of the United States, the states, and local laws.
  3. All citizens must pay income and social security taxes if they work.
  4. All citizens are required to file a tax return every year with the IRS and state tax commission (if there is one in their state).
  5. All citizens who work are taxpayers.
  6. All income is taxable.

Any disagreement with the above “sacred cows”, regardless of the supporting facts, is just plain crazy thinking. People who disagree or question the above five opinions are usually described as “conspiracy nuts”, “wackos” or my favorite “tax idiots.”

I’ve helped many people who were being attacked by the California Franchise Tax Board (“FTB”) and have helped get lots of so-called “assessments” dropped. Over the course of about eight years or so, I can speak from personal experience that the people doing business as the FTB do not usually let a lack of evidence stop them from attacking someone. And yes, threatening to take property by force qualifies as an attack.

I am working on two cases that illustrate the fact evidence is not part of the equation with government. One is before the Board of Equalization (“BOE”) the other is still with the FTB.

In the one before the BOE, I spoke with the women representing the FTB. She insists my client has an obligation to file a California “tax return” and pay “taxes.” I asked her about the facts and who determined my client had this alleged obligation. She stated they had gotten it from a “federal report.” So I asked if the IRS determined my client had an obligation to file a California return. She said: “No, we did that.” I then asked who at the FTB determined my client had an obligation to file a California return to which she again responded with “We got that from the federal report.” This was repeated a few more times; she just didn’t get it for a while.

I asked her if the IRS agent had personal knowledge of the facts, if any. She stated she had no idea. I asked if the FTB agent who determined my client had an obligation to file a California return had personal knowledge of the facts, if any. She told me she was sure the FTB employees “could not remember anything about [my] client.”

Even if there were facts to support the “assessment” against my client (an impossibility), the FTB representative admitted she did not rely on witnesses with personal knowledge of any facts. Watch closely, I’m going to take the “law” out of context here: section 702 of the California Evidence Code states:

“(a) Subject to Section 801, the testimony of a witness concerning a particular matter is inadmissible unless he has personal knowledge of the matter. Against the objection of a party, such personal knowledge must be shown before the witness may testify concerning the matter.”

And in case someone claims this somehow doesn’t apply, here it is from the BOE:

“The presumption of correctness attaching to respondent’s [“FTB”] determinations may be rebutted if an assessment is shown to be arbitrary and excessive or based on assumptions not supported by the evidence. (Helvering v. Taylor, 293 U.S. 507 [79 L.Ed. 623] (1935).” Appeal of Fred R. Dauberger, et al., 82-SBE-082, decided March 31, 1982.

The FTB representative admits she relies on no witnesses. She claims she doesn’t need witnesses. Some may claim that because it is administrative, there is no need for “admissible” evidence. Silly me, I thought evidence was important. Apparently when the BOE and the United States Supreme Court wrote “supported by the evidence”, I thought “evidence” meant facts i.e., tangible proof.

In fact, evidence does not even mean the opinions of accountants and other FTB employees. It means nothing, it’s mere rhetoric with no applicability to people acting as governments as the next example further proves.

The case before the FTB involved another bureaucrat, but the thought process exhibited is the same. I recorded the conversation and you can hear it here. I cut the first 20 minutes off and edited the name of my client out. There are no other edits though.

You’ll hear for yourself the FTB never relies on witnesses (I can hear government apologists now: while never admitting the agent is wrong; SHE doesn’t speak for the whole FTB!). The agent admits there is no evidence against my client. I request the “assessment” be vacated and she refuses because no one has given her a reason or reasonable cause to do so. Apparently an admitted lack of evidence is not a reason to vacate an “assessment” even if the Supreme Court has “ruled” it to be:

“The fact that the Commissioner’s determination of a deficiency was arbitrarily made may reasonably be deemed sufficient to require the Board to set it aside.” Helvering v. Taylor, 293 U.S. 507, 513.

(Warning! Always keep in mind Marc Stevens is NOT an attorney and court citations are taken out of context. Whoever insists evidence is necessary, especially admissible evidence, is either a “wacko” or “confused”.)

So I asked her if a lack of evidence is a reason to vacate an “assessment” and she refused to answer the question. I didn’t ask her to vacate the “assessment” a second time, only if a lack of evidence is a reason to vacate one. Why would she refuse and hang-up on me? Instead of answering the question, she rails about her “authority” to deny the request. You’ll notice I never questioned her “authority.”

But that’s exactly what is important to politicians and bureaucrats – their pretended “authority”, not tangible evidence. Statists, especially those acting as government, cannot accept the fact someone can voluntarily trade with others, earn money and not have an obligation to file a tax return or pay income taxes. Because this “conclusion” doesn’t fit their model of the world, they reject it without investigation. What makes this worse is they can hear the FTB agent saying there are no witnesses and no evidence. Despite the admitted lack of evidence, statists will accuse me of being the “wacko” and “tax idiot.”

And that is truly a testament to the effectiveness of political theology: those without evidence are credible, hailed as “honorable”, never to be questioned; those with evidence are “wackos” and “idiots.”


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  1. #CoS - Carol from the California Franchise Tax Board - Nov 16, 2006 | Says:

    […] Marc Stevens’ call with Carol from California’s Franchise Tax Board. Here is the associated article: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Evidence. […]

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