IRS Loses A Big One
On Friday, a Memphis federal jury acquitted FedEx pilot Vernice Kuglin of six counts of felony Tax Evasion and Willful Failure to File tax returns.
Ms. Kuglin's attorneys, Tax Honesty Movement barristers Larry Becraft [http://www.larrybecraft.com] and Robert G. Bernhoft, told reporters that Kuglin was indicted seven months ago and had refused to plead the case out for a lesser sentence. During her testimony Kuglin testified that since 1995, she had sent numerous letters to the IRS requesting that they inform her of what law required her to pay the Individual Income Tax. To this day, she has not received an answer.
At 1:30 Friday afternoon, the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.
After the jury had been excused the U.S. Attorney reportedly demanded that the Judge order the defendant to file her forms, pay her taxes and obey the law. The Judge reportedly replied "Sir, I don't work for the IRS."
The case is: U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) # 03-CR-20111, USA v. Kuglin.
The news story below comes from the August 9th edition of the Memphis daily newspaper, The Commercial Appeal:
Jury acquits pilot, who questioned IRS, of tax-evasion counts
Shirley Downing [email@example.com]
A federal jury Friday found FedEx pilot Vernice Kuglin not guilty of evading income taxes on $920,000.
The question of tax payment was unresolved at the end of the five-day trial.
"I think it is safe to assume the IRS will attempt civil collection, but she is not guilty of tax evasion," said defense attorney Robert Bernhoft of Milwaukee.
"I feel justified," a grinning Kuglin said after the verdict was returned at mid--afternoon. She stood outside the federal building, chatting with supporters and jurors.
Federal prosecutor Joe Murphy was not available for comment.
Kuglin, 58, was charged with six counts of tax evasion that could have meant up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
The government accused Kuglin of filing false W4 forms for the period from 1996 to 2001.
Kuglin, a pilot for FedEx since 1985, said she had paid taxes like anyone else for most of her life. But about 10 or 11 years ago, she began to question the federal tax system. She began to read court documents, legal opinions and the federal tax code.
She said she found what she felt were contradictions. She wanted to know where in the federal tax code it said she was liable for taxes.
Kuglin wrote the Internal Revenue Service twice in 1995 with questions but said she didn't get a response.
Murphy, in closing arguments on Thursday, said Kuglin did have an opportunity to discuss her situation with the IRS, to learn what she owed and what documents she was required to file "and she didn't."
Defense attorney Larry Becraft of Huntsville, Ala., said Kuglin decided mandatory payment of income taxes "did not apply to her."
After the verdict Friday, Becraft said the federal tax code is a confusing conglomeration that "at best is a walking due process violation."
He said the average American simply doesn't understand the tax code.
Juror Barbara Snodgras of Memphis said the jury did not convict because "we all felt that the prosecution didn't prove its case."
When asked if she planned to start paying federal income taxes again, Kuglin replied: "I will pay all the taxes for which I am liable."
August 9, 2003
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