- Tom Cryer
Tommy K. Cryer , aka Tom Cryer (born September 11, 1949 in
Lake Charles, Louisiana) is an attorneyin Shreveport, Louisianawho was charged with and later acquitted of willful failure to timely file U.S. Federal income tax returns.
According to a resume published by Cryer on his web site, Cryer graduated with honors from
Louisiana State University(LSU) Law School in 1973, and was inducted into the LSU Law School Hall of Fame in 1987. Cryer is also a member of the Order of the Coif(a law school honor society), that he served as a Special Advisor and Draftsman at the Louisiana Constitutional Convention in 1973 and that he has argued cases before the Louisiana Supreme Court. Finally, he opened a solo law practice in 1975 and gained experience in many different civil and criminal matters.http://www.truthattack.org/CRYER--MotiontoDismiss.pdf]
Cryer's assertions about taxation
On his web site, Cryer makes a variety of assertions about the legality of the income tax in the United States, mostly in regard to taxes on wages. He claims that "the law does not tax [a person's] wages", and that the federal government cannot tax " [m] oney that you earned [and] paid for with your labor and industry" because "the Constitution does not allow the federal government to tax those earnings" (referring to "wages, salaries and fees that [a person] earn [s] for [himself] "). Cryer states: [http://www.gcstation.net/liefreezone/ Tom Cryer's position on his website] ]
::The income tax law, although it is carefully written to APPEAR otherwise, does not actually tax your wages, salaries and fees that you earn yourself because the Constitution does not allow the federal government to tax those earnings.
Cryer also asserts that:
:: [T] he law, which is carefully drawn to stay inside the Constitution, does not actually tax personal earnings, but the IRS publications, no more law than Time Magazine, say it does and by collecting taxes on personal earnings it has violated several fundamental constitutional restrictions.
In October 2006, Cryer was indicted on two counts of
tax evasion(usc|26|7201). [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/law/news/wdl20061026.pdf] In March 2007, two counts of willful failure to timely file tax returns (usc|26|7203) were added to the charges. [See Superceding Indictment, docket entry 37, March 28, 2007, "United States v. Cryer", case no. 5:06-cr-50164-SMH-MLH-ALL, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Shreveport Division.] The indictment alleged that Cryer evaded over $73,000 in taxes in 2000 and 2001 by using a trust to receive payments of dividends, interests and stock income.
Cryer files motions to dismiss tax evasion charges
Cryer filed four motions to dismiss the case against him.
The government responded by stating that Cryer, “asserted various tax protester claims...and courts have rejected and discredited these claims” and countered Cryer's claim that the income generated from his law practice is not taxable, citing "
Commissioner v. Kowalski", 434 U.S. 77 (1977) (payments are considered income where the payments are undeniably accessions to wealth, clearly realized, and over which taxpayer has complete dominion); "Lonsdale v. Commissioner", 661 F.2d 71, 72 (5th Cir. 1981) (rejecting taxpayer's contention that the “exchange of services for money is a zero-sum transaction”); "Reading v. Commissioner", 70 T.C. 730 (1978), "aff'd", 614 F.2d 159 (8th Cir. 1980) (monies received from the sale of one's services constitute income within the meaning of the Sixteenth Amendment). [Government response to Cryer motions to dismiss [http://www.truthattack.org/CryerGovtResponse.pdf] ] [Government's in Globo Response to Defendant's Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Compel Discovery, and Motion in Limine, Feb. 15, 2007, docket entry 26, "United States v. Cryer", case no. 5:06-cr-50164-SMH-MLH-ALL, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Shreveport Division.]
The court rejected Cryer's first motion, in which Cryer had contended that the indictment had failed to allege "affirmative acts."Memorandum Order, March 19, 2007, docket entry 35, "United States v. Cryer", case no. 5:06-cr-50164-SMH-MLH-ALL, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Shreveport Division.] The court rejected Cryer's second motion, in which Cryer had argued that the Secretary of the Treasury had failed to comply with the
Administrative Procedure Actby not publishing certain information in the Federal Register. The court rejected Cryer's third motion, in which Cryer had asked for dismissal on the ground that he had not, with respect to a trust mentioned in the indictment, created that trust for the purpose of evading taxes. The court rejected Cryer's fourth motion to dismiss, in which Cryer contended that his income, which was derived through the practice of law in Louisiana, was not "taxable income" as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, ruling the contention to be "without merit."
Trial proceeds with reduced charges
The prosecution dropped its allegations of tax evasion (on which the law provides a maximum prison term of five years) [usc|26|7201.] against Cryer on July 9, 2007. Cryer was then tried on two counts of willful failure to file tax returns, for which the maximum jail sentence is one year in prison. [usc|26|7203.]
Cryer was acquitted on July 11, 2007. [Loresha Wilson, "Local attorney acquitted on Federal income tax charges," July 13, 2007, "Shreveport Times", at [http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007707130321] ] Cryer did not make any of his arguments about the legality of the income tax to the jury itself. Instead he asserted that he really did not believe that he owed the taxes, so there was no criminal intent. According to the "New Hampshire Union Leader":
::Cryer convinced jurors that he genuinely believed he was not liable for the $73,000 in taxes the government says he owes for tax years 2000 and 2001. Absent proof of criminal intent, the jury acquitted him. [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Louisiana+lawyer+beats+tax+charges%3B+worries+for+Browns&articleId=09c7b527-07d1-454d-b4d1-64a87b8fed0e Senz, Kristen. Louisiana lawyer beats tax charges; worries for Browns. "Union Leader" Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007.] ]
Although the jury was not convinced of Cryer's willfulness, the theories he raised in his motions for dismissal have been repeatedly rejected by the courts (see
Tax protester argumentsand related articles).
Cryer and the government have made various claims pertaining to tax law, and have cited many rulings by the courts that Cryer and the government contend support their conflicting positions. Citations to the cases can be found on web sites for Cryer and the government.
On December 26, 2007, Cryer instituted a civil suit against the United States government, alleging that criminal investigators with the Internal Revenue Service violated usc|26|6103 and other provisions of law by disclosing confidential information and injuring Cryer's reputation during their criminal investigation of Cryer. [Complaint, docket entry 1, Dec. 26, 2007, "Cryer v. United States", case no. 5:07-cv-02206-DEW-MLH, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Shreveport).] Cryer alleged that IRS employees disclosed to approximately thirty of Cryer's clients that Cryer was under investigation, and that the disclosures violated the law.
Section 6103 generally prohibits disclosure of certain information by IRS employees, but also provides the "investigative purposes" exception of section 6103(k)(6). Under that exception, an IRS employee:
:: [ . . . ] may, in connection with his official duties relating to any audit, collection activity, or civil or criminal tax investigation or any other offense under the internal revenue laws, disclose return information to the extent that such disclosure is necessary in obtaining information, which is not otherwise reasonably available, with respect to the correct determination of tax, liability for tax, or the amount to be collected or with respect to the enforcement of any other provision of this title. Such disclosures shall be made only in such situations and under such conditions as the Secretary [of the Treasury or his delegate] may prescribe by regulation. [See usc|26|6103(k)(6).]
The related Treasury regulations provide that IRS employees:
:: [ . . . ] may identify themselves, their organizational affiliation with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (e.g., Criminal Investigation (CI)) or TIGTA (e.g., Office of Investigations (OI)), and the nature of their investigation, when making an oral, written, or electronic contact with a third party witness [ . . . ] [See 26 C.F.R. sec. 301.6103(k)(6)-1T(a)(3).]
In May 2008, the court rejected Cryer's arguments, and his case was dismissed. The court ruled "that the disclosures at issue are covered by the 'investigative purposes' exception" of section 6103(k)(6). The court also rejected Cryer's claim that certain disclosures violated the rules on grand jury proceedings. ["Cryer v. United States", 2008-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 50,361 (W.D. La. 2008); Memorandum Ruling, p. 6, docket entry 8, May 9, 2008, case no. 5:07-cv-02206-DEW-MLH, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Shreveport).]
Taxation in the United States
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