78 T.C. 304 (1982), 15924-79, Habersham-Bey v. C.I.R

Docket Nº:15924-79.
Citation:78 T.C. 304
Opinion Judge:CHABOT, Judge:
Party Name:FLORENCE V. HABERSHAM-BEY, PETITIONER v. COMMISSIONER of INTERNAL REVENUE, RESPONDENT
Attorney:Florence V. Habersham-Bey, pro se. John F. Dean, for the respondent.
Case Date:March 02, 1982
Court:United States Tax Court
 
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Page 304

78 T.C. 304 (1982)

FLORENCE V. HABERSHAM-BEY, PETITIONER

v.

COMMISSIONER of INTERNAL REVENUE, RESPONDENT

No. 15924-79.

United States Tax Court

March 2, 1982

Petitioner claims exemption from Federal income tax on the ground that she is a " Moorish American." Petitioner submitted to her employer a Form W-4 on which she claimed 13 exemptions even though she knew she was entitled to no more than 3 exemptions. She filed the false Form W-4 in order to stop withholding of Federal income taxes from her wages. She did not file Federal income tax returns for the years in issue, and did not pay tax. Held :

1. Petitioner's constitutional arguments are rejected; she is subject to Federal income taxation.

2. Additions to tax are imposed under sec. 6653(b) (fraud), I.R.C. 1954.

3. Petitioner is entitled to personal exemption deductions and credits for her two sons; she is entitled to head-of-household status even though she failed to file income tax returns. Sec. 143(b), I.R.C. 1954.

4. Additions to tax are imposed under sec. 6654(a) (estimated tax), I.R.C. 1954.

Page 305

Florence V. Habersham-Bey, pro se.

John F. Dean, for the respondent.

CHABOT, Judge:

Respondent determined deficiencies in Federal individual income tax and additions to tax under sections 6653(b)[1] (fraud) and 6654(a) (estimated tax) against petitioner as follows:

Additions to tax
Year Deficiency Sec. 6653(b) Sec. 6654(a)
1975 $2,005.07 $1,002.54 $71.99
1976 1,813.00 906.50 69.40
1977 1,994.00 997.00 71.02
By amendment to answer, respondent asserts in the alternative that, if the Court determines that petitioner's underpayments were not due to fraud, then petitioner is liable for additions to tax under sections 6651(a) (failure to file return) and 6653(a) (negligence) as follows:
Additions to tax
Year Sec. 6651(a) Sec. 6653(a)
1975 $501.27 $100.25
1976 453.25 90.65
1977 498.50 99.70
The issues for decision are: (1) Whether petitioner is exempt from the payment of Federal income tax; (2) (a) Whether petitioner is liable for additions to tax under section 6653(b) (fraud), or (b) alternatively, if petitioner's underpayments are not due to fraud, whether petitioner is liable for additions to tax under sections 6651(a) (failure to file return) and 6653(a) (negligence); (3) Whether petitioner is entitled to personal exemption deductions and credits on account of her two sons, head-of-household status, and the standard deduction (zero bracket amount for 1977); and (4) Whether petitioner is liable for additions to tax under section 6654 (estimated tax). Page 306 FINDINGS OF FACT Some of the facts have been stipulated; the stipulations and the stipulated exhibits are incorporated herein by this reference. When the petition in this case was filed, petitioner resided in Baltimore, Md. Petitioner has been employed as a direct care hospital worker since 1967. During the years in issue, petitioner was employed by the State of Maryland as a direct care worker for the hospital and nursing service at Spring Grove Hospital Center. In that capacity, petitioner has received some training in matters relating to Spring Grove Hospital Center's psychiatric care, including training in psychiatry, sociology, medicine, surgery, nursing, mental retardation, the duties of a ward clerk, and filing. During the years in issue, petitioner earned wages, and Federal income tax was withheld from such wages, in the amounts shown in table I:
Table I
Year Wages Tax withheld
1975 $10,196.67 $193.69
1976 9,743.95 0
1977 10,154.10 0
Throughout each of the years in issue, petitioner lived separately from her then-husband, Leonard J. Habersham (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Habersham). Petitioner and Habersham were divorced in 1978. Habersham itemized his deductions on his 1975, 1976, and 1977 Federal income tax returns. Petitioner's two sons, Leonard Habersham-Bey (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Leonard, Jr.) and Clarence R. Reynolds-El (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Clarence), lived with petitioner throughout each of the years in issue. During the years in issue, Clarence was becoming a teenager and Leonard, Jr., was entering elementary school. On occasion, Leonard, Jr., stayed with Habersham for short visits which may have aggregated a few weeks each year. Petitioner received a total of $200 to $300 each year from Habersham for Leonard, Jr., and herself. Clarence received small amounts of money ($5 or $10) from his father once or twice a year. For each of the years in issue, petitioner provided over half Page 307 the support for both Leonard, Jr., and Clarence, and furnished over half the cost of maintaining the household which was petitioner's home and the principal place of abode for Leonard, Jr., and Clarence. In the notice of deficiency, respondent determined that petitioner had gross income from wages in the amounts shown in table I supra, and was entitled to one personal exemption for each year in issue. No itemized deductions or standard deductions were allowed for 1975 and 1976. Although it is not clear from the notice of deficiency, it does not appear that either itemized deductions or the zero bracket amount was allowed for 1977. Respondent computed petitioner's tax liability for each year based on the tax imposed by section 1(d) (married individuals filing separate returns). Petitioner considers herself to be a " Moorish American," and rejects the terms " Negro," " African," and " Colored" as misnomers. Since 1975, petitioner has been a member of the Moorish Science Temple. [2] One of the tenets of the Moorish Science Temple is that people of Moorish descent are not true American citizens and, therefore, are exempt from all taxation until the " executive will" of President Abraham Lincoln[3] and " the thirteenth amendment with 20 sections" [4] become a part Page 308 of the United States Constitution and are implemented as such.[5] In November 1974, a list of 22 Moorish Americans claiming to be exempt from Federal taxes was sent to respondent. Petitioner's name was not included in this list. Before February 19, 1975, petitioner had submitted to her employer a Form W-4 on which she claimed three exemptions (for petitioner and her two sons). On February 19, 1975, petitioner prepared and submitted to her employer a Form W-4 on which she claimed 13 exemptions (for petitioner and 12 dependents). When petitioner submitted the Form W-4 claiming 13 exemptions, petitioner knew that she was not entitled to 13 exemptions and she knew and intended that the effect of claiming 13 exemptions would be to stop the withholding of Federal income tax from her wages. There was no statement on the Form W-4 (or attached to it) explaining the 13 exemptions claimed thereon. Although petitioner had filed a Federal income tax return for 1974, she did not file a Federal income tax return (or any document purporting to be an income tax return) with respondent for any of the years in issue. Page 309 Both the false Form W-4 and the nonfiling of income tax returns were aimed toward the same end. A part of petitioner's underpayment for each of the years in issue was due to fraud. OPINION As a preliminary matter, we note that respondent's determinations as to matters of fact in the notice of deficiency are presumed to be correct and petitioner has the burden of proving otherwise. Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. 111 (1933); Rule 142(a), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. However, respondent has the burden of proof with respect to the additions to tax for fraud and the additions to tax which were asserted in his amended answer. I. Exemption From Income Tax Petitioner does not dispute that she received wages[6] in the amounts and during the years set forth in table I supra, but asserts that, as a Moorish American, she is exempt from the payment of Federal income tax until President Lincoln's " executive will" and " the thirteenth amendment with 20 sections" are enforced.[7] Respondent maintains that petitioner is not exempt from tax. We agree with respondent. Section 1 imposes an income tax on the taxable income of every individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States. Sec. 1.1-1(a)(1), Income Tax Regs. It cannot be seriously contended that the Congress lacks the power under the 16th Amendment to impose such an income tax without apportionment, or that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional. Brushaber v. United States, 240 U.S. 1 (1916). Page 310 Petitioner's other constitutional claims must also be rejected. On many occasions, this Court and others have rejected objections to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code based on a taxpayer's religious and moral beliefs which oppose the policies of the Federal Government and its expenditures of funds. E.g., Graves v. Commissioner, 579 F.2d 392 (6th Cir. 1978), affg. a Memorandum Opinion of this Court; [8] Greenberg v. Commissioner, 73 T.C. 806, 810-811 (1980), and cases cited therein. Petitioner has given us no persuasive reason to depart from the analyses of these cases. Nor do we find any basis for concluding that Moorish Americans, as such, are exempt from Federal income tax.[9] On this issue, we hold for respondent. II. Section 6653(b) Additions to Tax (Fraud) Respondent determined that all or part of an underpayment in petitioner's income taxes for each of the years in issue was due to fraud. Respondent asserts in the...

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