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"Live free or die" is a popular motto among anti-taxation activists and one that actor Wesley Snipes clearly supports.
Snipes on Friday vowed to appeal a judge's order to pay out $1.7 million in fees to a talent agency who helped him land film roles. Snipes said he was surprised to learn of UTA's lawsuit. A spokesman for Snipes says, "Mr. Snipes had been in discussions with UTA about the underlying dispute and was shocked to learn that UTA abruptly abandoned discussions and chose to take legal action."

Court records related to the judgment have a different story. They indicate that neither Snipes nor his attorney responded to the court summons issued in relation to this case. The court apparently set several dates to hear the case and the actor never showed.

That may be the least of his problems. The Feds want him in jail for up to 16 years and say he owes more than $11 million in back taxes. Which makes it a tad awkward for him to show up anywhere in the United States where the IRS's enforcement arm, the Justice Department, could expect to find him. Perhaps like a Hollywood civil trial.

Snipes, who has been laying low since his release on bond in the tax evasion case in December of last year, is said to be in negotiations with the IRS.

However the IRS, like UTA, may have their own ideas about what constitutes negotiation and what constitutes something closer to evasion. And UTA, for all its power in Hollywood, simply doesn’t have the clout and draconian collection measures available to to the IRS. They have more than the old Tinseltown threat "You’ll never work in this town again." It's more like "You’ll never work again." Television included, for those who remember the Peter Sellers line in "The Party."

Claiming that the United States cannot legally tax the incomes of its citizens or resident aliens, Snipes has taken a strong stance against income taxes over the past decade and has largely refused to pay them.

As a result of his stance on the issue, Snipes now faces six counts of willing failure to file income taxes in a timely manner as well as two charges relating to fraudulent tax returns.

The IRS claims that the film star filed fraudulent tax returns totaling $11.3 million and has not paid any taxes since 1996.

The actor cited US Code 861 to serve as legal support for his argument. Though Snipes and others like him claim this law states domestic income of U.S. citizens and residents is not taxable, the US court system begs to differ. Every time the 861 argument has been presented before the courts, the defendants have been convicted of attempting to defraud the government.

Such was the case with Charles Thomas Clayton, M.D. in Texas during August of last year as well as Larken Rose in Philadelphia who was sentenced one year prior to Clayton’s conviction. Both of these offenders were found guilty, sentenced to time in prison and fined.

Snipes is facing a similar fate; with the possible sentence of 16 years in prison and substantial fines. The star from the “Blade” trilogy is widely recognized and would provide a much better warning and example of the government’s attitude towards tax protesters.

However, Snipes is not being tried alone. Also named in the indictment against Snipes are two lesser known individuals, Eddie Kahn and Douglas P. Rossile.

Eddie Kahn is the founder of a group that promotes an anti-taxation agenda, named Guiding Light of God Ministries that Snipes has been allegedly affiliated with over the past decade.

Both Kahn and Rossile are accused of aiding and abetting Snipes in defrauding the United States government by preparing false tax returns for the actor.


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