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November 23, 2004

The TaxProf Blog has a comprehensive big media tax news roundup this morning.

althompson.jpgOur favorite story was a New York Times account of a high-speed auto chase of a tax suspect. This is unusual in at least two ways - that the Times would cover a high speed chase, and that tax enforcement would be so exciting.

The fleeing suspect was Al Thompson, who participated in the brilliant tax scheme of buying an ad in USA Today saying that he didn't pay taxes or withhold taxes for his employees. The ad asserted that there is "no law" requiring the payment of taxes.

   The chase involving Mr. Thompson, at speeds of 80 to 
   100 miles an hour, began about 9:30 a.m. yesterday
   when federal agents went to Mr. Thompson's home to 
   arrest him.
   The pursuit quickly moved from residential streets onto
   Interstate 5, the main highway running the length of 
   the state. It ended when the California Highway Patrol 
   laid a strip of spikes on the road to flatten the tires on 
   Mr. Thompson's car.
He should have told his tires that there is "no law" requiring them to go flat when they run over highway spikes.
   As he was trying to elude arrest, Mr. Thompson placed
   a cellphone call to Cindy Nuen, an associate in the 
   movement that denies the legitimacy of the tax system,
   according to an e-mail message she sent to other 
   members yesterday.
Additional brilliance - dialing a cell phone while eluding police at 100 miles per hour.
   "I'm going to make them take me," she quoted Mr. 
   Thompson as saying, adding that she asked what 
   she should do.
Um, I think they were going to take you whether or not you were going to "make them" do so, Mr. Thompson.
   "Just put the word out," Mr. Thompson said. Then, 
   apparently having run over the spikes, he said "they 
   got my tires, they got my car. Now they are out. They 
   have their guns pointed - O.K., they got me."
   Mr. Thompson refused to leave his car for 10 minutes,
   said Lt. Jeff Lee of the California Highway Patrol.
"Show me where the IRS Code says I have to get out of the car!"
   "Eventually we persuaded him to come out and he 
   was arrested without incident or injury,"

Maybe that USA Today ad wasn't such a great move after all. The other businessmen who signed have not had great tax luck. Click on their names to find out how their USA Today tax plan worked out.

David Bosset
Nick Jesson
Dick Simkanin
Leonard Roberto (no tax charges yet noted).

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