Attacking the Taxman

James Farmer and Cliff Williams do their best to irk the IRS

He says his normal law practice, which consists of both civil and criminal cases, "everything from traffic tickets to murder," has suffered. "I've had to not work on other cases that would have had income," he says. "I've put in tons of time on this. But we have found the statutes and the laws that show that what the IRS is doing and saying is just wrong, and we won't give up until we win."

That outcome seems highly unlikely, but any failure probably won't deter others from trying the same thing. William lectures on the subject before interested groups, and the Internet and talk-radio stations are full of tax-protester information.

The IRS brags that it has a handle on the problem, but the figures it cites aren't that impressive: In the last ten years, 2,000 tax protesters have been convicted. That works out to only 200 a year; 40 percent of those don't receive jail time.

Farmer and William realize they're painting big red targets on their backs with their probably pointless suit, but like all good martyrs, they say they are willing to suffer the slings and arrows.

"My grandfather said to me that trying to take power from politicians is like trying to take food from a saber tooth tiger," William growls. "But if you don't fight for what you believe in, what good are you?

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