Dennis E. Runkle and Debra A. Runkle - Page 30

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          make estimated tax payments for the years at issue, and failing             
          to cooperate with tax authorities.  Accordingly, we find that               
          petitioners’ affirmative acts are evidence of fraud.                        
               7.   Giving Implausible or Inconsistent Explanations                   
               Since approximately 1992, petitioners have given implausible           
          and inconsistent explanations why they have not filed income tax            
          returns.  Shortly after purchasing an “untaxing service” from the           
          American Institute, petitioners began sending letters to                    
          respondent claiming that they were not required to file tax                 
          returns and pay taxes.  Petitioners asserted in letters to                  
          respondent that they “are not taxpayers” as defined by the Code,            
          and, though knowledgeable about their taxpaying responsibilities,           
          consciously decided to “opt out” of the system.  Petitioners also           
          declared to respondent that “we no longer volunteer our                     
          involvement with your agency or any of its subdivisions” and                
          claimed that respondent was “operating under color of law, and              
          have been attempting to extort money from us.”                              
               In addition, despite being fully aware of their legal duty             
          to file a return and after having filed a return each year for              
          more than 20 years before the years at issue, petitioners                   
          asserted that they had a “firm belief” that they no longer had a            
          requirement to file a return.  They acquired this firm belief               
          without consulting with any tax adviser and even after learning             

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