Tax Activist Faces Prison
Former IRS agent punished for exposing truth about income tax
Former gun-toting IRS-CID agent Joseph Banister,
41, now a certified public accountant in San Jose, Calif., appeared in U.S.
District Court in Sacramento recently to face charges for numerous alleged tax
crimes. Banister was taken into custody Nov. 19 by IRS agents and released on
$25,000 bond after pleading not guilty. Supporters of Banister charge that this
indictment is retaliation by the Department of Justice for Banister exposing
the “truth” about the income tax.
Banister is married, and he and his wife have two
boys, aged 16 and 13.
Banister is a regular speaker at tax protester
events and has published a book called Investigating the Income Tax. He
has appeared on national TV interviews—where, strangely, he admits that he
himself reports and pays his income tax, although advocating to others that
payment of income taxes and filing of returns are “voluntary.” Apparently,
however, he does not file a 1040 Form as such. Two of the issues his book
promotes, as being legally valid, are:
(1) An individual is not required to file tax
returns because by doing so, the individual waives his Fifth Amendment rights.
And (2) you don’t need to file federal income tax returns because the 16th
Amendment, which gives Congress “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes,”
was never properly ratified. Unfortunately, the courts have repeatedly rejected
these arguments in the past.
Commented Steve Bruce of American People Opposed
to Social Security Entrapment: “We went out of our way to warn Banister years
ago that his arguments were flawed, but he just would not listen. Any CID agent
should know these arguments are legally flawed and that they have failed
non-filers in criminal cases over and over again for years.”
Banister and thousands of other Americans have
repeatedly requested hearings with the IRS and Department of Justice to answer
a number of what they consider to be valid and important legal questions
regarding the application of the income tax. Repre sentatives of those agencies
finally agreed to hold public hearings on Feb. 27 and 28, 2002, but then
reneged and continue to refuse to respond to any challenge or, as Banister puts
it, “reasonable questions.”
The federal indictment accuses Banister and
co-defendant Walter A. Thompson, 57, of Redding, Calif., of conspiring to
defraud the United States of approximately $259,669 in income and employment
Banister and Thompson allegedly decided to remove
Thompson’s employees from taxpayer rolls by no longer withholding employment
taxes from wages and not filing employer’s quarterly tax returns and other
At an October 2000 staff meeting, Thompson told
his employees that the pay they received for their work was not income under
IRS regulations, the indictment said.
Thompson was arrested Nov. 19 after a car chase at
speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. The California Highway Patrol finally
stopped him after laying down a strip of spikes to flatten the tires of his
car. Thompson refused to leave the car for 10 minutes, said the Highway Patrol.
“Eventually we persuaded him to come out, and he was arrested without incident
Thompson has been jailed four times for refusing
to cooperate with state tax auditors or file returns and pay federal taxes, the
mainstream media reported.
Banister is charged with three counts of aiding
and assisting the filing of false tax returns for Thompson, owner of Cencal
Sales, manufacturer of aviation travel bags. Thompson is charged with one count
of filing a false income tax return and 10 counts of failing to collect and pay
more than $176,000 in taxes from his employees.
If convicted of all counts, Banister could be
sentenced to 14 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Thompson could receive
68 years and a fine of $3.5 million.
Trial has been set for 1:30 p.m., Jan. 19, 2005,
in Judge William B. Shubb’s courtroom. A legal defense fund has been set up:
Joseph Banister Legal Defense Fund, P.O. Box 90239, San Jose, Calif.
Thompson is pro se with a federal public
defender as adviser.
Banister is being represented by Don Kilmer of San
Jose, a well-known champion of the Second Amend ment, and Jeff Dickstein, one
of the top criminal defense lawyers in the country.
Banister says: “I have always believed with all my
heart that if a day came when defending against the bully’s club brought
hardship to those I care most about, somehow, some way, God would provide. With
that faith buried in my heart and alive to this day, I forged ahead and blew
the whistle on the most feared entity in our country. . . . My faith
perseveres. I [now] know what it is like to feel such stress that I sweat blood
in the garden of Gethsemane or to stand amidst God’s most fearsome creatures in
a den of lions. . . . Please pray for this effort as often as you can.”