Henry Fights the Tax Thieves!

Tax Court, Columbia, SC (Jan 06)

By Chris

Henry is 86 years old and his wife, Mrs. Patriot, is 88 and they are both in poor health. The IRS has been harassing Henry during the last two years over his failure to file. Henry maintains he does not need to file since he only receives a small pension and he has to take care of his dependent wife who only has a small Social Security income. Henry has been bombarded with paperwork and bureaucratic deadlines to meet. Since Henry is not savvy in legal matters he asked Dr. Clarkson to help him.

Henry has known Dr. Clarkson for over thirty years, since before Robert became heavily involved in patriotic work. Henry met Robert at a party that the first Mrs. Patriot held for a conservative women’s group and it was, I’m told, attended by a roster of “who’s who” in local patriotic circles.

Since Henry is very elderly, I agreed to help him complete and file his paperwork in order to meet the IRS deadlines and to get his case dismissed. The more I helped Henry and saw the notices sent out by the tax thieves, the more I realized what a travesty of justice this was. How could any credible government agency fall upon a man of Henry’s age and integrity and browbeat him into paying taxes he does not owe?!

Henry repeatedly asked the IRS agents to meet with him and to review any records he might have. In his letters, Henry consistently told them that he was married and could claim his dependent wife.

The final pretrial motion came in December. It arrived in the mail on Christmas Eve. The IRS appeals officer had significantly reduced the amount Henry owed on the basis of his Social Security income not being taxable, but they still failed to allow for his dependent wife and the additional exemptions allowed because Henry and his wife are both over the age of 65. Instead, this pretrial motion stated there was no record of Henry’s marriage within the IRS records and the IRS doubted Henry’s statements. How callous and cold to deliver such treatment during the Christmas Season!

Henry Goes to Tax Court!

On January 9, I drove Henry to Tax Court in Columbia. We parked in a parking garage across busy, six-lane Assembly Street and walked to the Strom Thurmond building. We took our time crossing the busy intersection and when the light changed, traffic had to wait for Henry to finish crossing the road with his cane before they could proceed. I was concerned that some anxious driver was going to start through the intersection and run us over. (The crossing lights tell you how many seconds you have to get across but they don’t allow enough time for an 86-year-old hobbling with a cane.)

When we arrived inside the building we had to pass through a security checkpoint. The guards waved their wand over Henry’s belt buckle and investigated his tote bag because it contained wires. The guards were very polite in their duty, but can you imagine an 86 year old man with a tape recorder and an electric plug being a terrorist?

When we arrived on the 8th floor we were greeted by Dr. Clarkson in the hallway. He instructed us to go into the court room and meet with District Counsel J. Craig Young to inform him Henry was willing to settle.

Before we did, I stopped in the ladies room. If there was ever a truer moment of powder room gossip, this was it. Two lady IRS agents were joking that it was going to be a “colorful day” because of Dr. Clarkson being present. Apparently Robert’s reputation precedes him.

When we entered the court room, Dr. Clarkson led the way, with Henry slowly behind him. I trailed behind like a good secretary. Robert approached Mr. Young and told him Henry would like to settle. Counselor Young’s temper flared and he yelled at Dr. Clarkson, “I’m not settling anything with you present!” Dr. Clarkson retaliated by shaking his finger and shouting, “You don’t talk to me like that. You are going to show me some respect!” Dr. Clarkson turned to Henry and said, “Okay, you try to settle with him and don’t let him take advantage of you.” Dr. Clarkson had barely left the room when Agent Young turned to Henry and in a nasty tone said, “I’m not settling with you, you had your chance!” Henry retorted, “I’m going to make you an offer. I’m willing to give you ten cents on the dollar. That’s all the money I have.” Agent Young shouted at Henry, “Well, you are not going to get a settlement, you can forget it! The time for that is past!”

District Counselor J. Craig Young is in his 60’s, is balding and overweight. His suit looked wrinkled as if he had slept in it and his shirt tail was hanging out from behind. He seemed overworked, overstressed, and nervous. I really think, from his demeanor, he should retire. It was obvious that this job is too much for him to handle. I perceived Mr. Young to be a schmuck who knows no better way to get what he wants than to yell at senior citizens who can barely stand or walk.

Henry’s case was the first to be presented for trial. The judge was very soft-spoken and I could barely hear him. Henry could not hear him at all and frequently asked the judge to speak up. For this reason, Robert and I sat with Henry at the counsel table. Mr. Young strenuously objected to this and asked the judge to have us move. The judge inquired as to our relationship with Henry and our names. We stated our names and said we were his friends and I explained I had helped Henry type his letters. The judge allowed me to sit with Henry, as his clerical assistant.

Mr. Young read through a long stipulation of facts and referred to some exhibits that had previously been mailed to Henry. Mr. Young indicated disbelief that Henry was married and that he had a dependent wife. He asserted that Henry had not filed in twenty years and that he is a member of a “tax protest group” and his arguments for non-filing were “frivolous and groundless.”  The Judge then asked Henry to take the witness stand. As Henry got up from the table and tried to move forward with his cane, he almost fell. He unintentionally knocked over a few things along the way, including the free standing lectern.

Because Henry has a hard time focusing on a particular train of thought, due to his seniority, he had copies of letters that he had previously sent to the IRS to substantiate his case. When Henry made it to the witness stand and was sworn in, he was asked to state his name and address. Due to the immense stress of the situation, Henry had to read from the letters to remember his own address! The Judge asked Henry if he had anything to say. Henry began to read from the letters he had formerly mailed to District Counsel J.C. Young. The judge had the letters entered into evidence and asked if Henry had anything else to offer. Henry stated he did not believe he owed the tax in question due to his and his dependent wife’s age and the minimal amount of income in question.  J.C. Young then began to interrogate Henry as to whether he had proof of his marriage, such as a marriage certificate. Henry stated he did not, it was destroyed in the house fire he had a few years ago. Mr. Young questioned Henry for his wife’s social security number, which Henry of course did not know off the top of his head. 

J.C. Young continuously hounded Henry about his wife. The Judge interceded and asked Henry for his wife’s name. Henry answered, “Mrs. Henry Patriot.” Well, any gentleman of Henry’s age and conservative, Christian nature will refer to his wife in this manner. This was no surprise to me. The Judge inquired again, having to rephrase the question a few more times until he got the desired answer of Mrs. Patriot’s given name.

When the tax rat, Mr. Young was done grilling Henry about Mrs. Patriot’s name and social security number, the Judge asked Henry if he had anything else to say. Henry vociferously spoke out at this point in time. “I’m not lying about being married and why should I have to prove it to you? My word isn’t good enough for you when I am up here under oath?! I would not lie to anyone, not even to that gentleman over there. (Pointing at Mr. Young) Who is he to doubt my word when I am under oath? If he can get away with that, than this court is nothing more than a kangaroo court and this whole thing is a great miscarriage of justice!”

After this, the Judge dismissed us for lunch. During lunch Robert discussed with Henry that a copy of the marriage certificate could be obtained from the court house in the county in which Henry and Mrs. Patriot had been married. Henry stated that he had his wife’s social security number at home, but he did not know he was going to be asked to produce it today. Robert advised Henry to speak with Mr. Young and tell him about this information.

When Henry attempted to speak with Mr. Young after lunch, Mr. Young answered him very rudely “I have nothing more to say to you. I’m done with you.  I don’t want to talk to you!” Such a lack of respect J.C. Young has for his elders! One imagines he must have given his parents hell growing up. He would probably grill his own father for proof of marriage to his mother!

We stayed for the rest of the docket to provide moral support for others and then slowly made our way out of the building, through the streets and back to the parking garage. This was a very tiring experience for Henry, emotionally and physically.