Law-abiding Americans who hand off a solid chunk of their salaries to the IRS might be interested in what filmmaker Aaron Russo has to say on the subject of income tax. According to Russo, a Hollywood producer responsible for such films as THE ROSE and TRADING PLACES, the land of the free hasn't been all that free since 1913, when the first of two frauds changed the United States forever. A handful of powerful bankers — including J.P. Morgan, Paul Warburg and John D. Rockefeller — pressured the U.S. government into passing the 16th Amendment, the so-called "income tax amendment," even though it was never legally ratified by a sufficient number of states. Why? Because these same interests engineered "fraud" No. 2, the passing of the Federal Reserve Act, later that same year: It granted a handful of powerful, privately owned banks the power to issue money and control its value. The income tax enforced by the amendment was slated to finance the resulting national debt owed these banks; in short, the tax on citizens' labor wouldn't wind up in the coffers of the U.S. government, earmarked to subsidize public services and infrastructure maintenance, but in the back pockets of a handful of capitalists. Russo, who at first seems genuinely wary of antitax activists' claims that a direct, unapportioned tax on citizens' wages and labor (as opposed to, say, a corporation's profits and gains) is unconstitutional and therefore illegal, sets for himself what initially seems a fairly straightforward task: Finding the law that requires ordinary Americans to file a 1040. But the deeper Russo digs, the less he finds, leading him to suspect what others before him (including a number of former IRS employees) came to realize: That the elusive law used by the IRS to seize Americans' lawfully gained properties and even throw them in prison simply doesn't exist, and pressuring the IRS to produce the law they use to prosecute nonfilers is at best an exercise in futility and at worst a trigger for intimidating threats of "enforcement actions." Russo is a clearly a healthy minded skeptic who tries to get both sides of the story. In addition to interviewing tax experts, attorneys and a former IRS criminal investigator, he attempts to speak with representatives from the IRS itself: Few return his calls, and Homeland Security shows up when Russo attempts to film outside the IRS offices in Washington. In the end, the unavoidable question remains: Even armed with the galling knowledge presented in Russo's film, who in his or her right mind is going to take on the IRS?
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: NR
- Review: Law-abiding Americans who hand off a solid chunk of their salaries to the IRS might be interested in what filmmaker Aaron Russo has to say on the subject of income tax. According to Russo, a Hollywood producer responsible for such films as THE ROSE and TRA… (more)