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Don't Want to Pay Taxes? Say You Live in Heaven

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Lots of people play fast and loose with the American tax code -- even presidential candidates. In fact, a USA Today article from last October reported that nearly a half a million US income tax filers paid no tax at all in 2009.

There are 11 popular reasons that Americans have for either filing their taxes late or not paying them at all. These excuses, according to Intuit Inc.’s (INTU) Turbo Tax folks, run the gamut from laziness, forgetfulness, and ignorance of the law to the belief that paying income taxes is voluntary or a violation of Constitutional rights.

The one glaring omission left off from this list is the “heavenly transcendence” defense. At least that’s what a 40-year-old Melbourne, Florida man would have the IRS believe. When Russell P. Gentile received a grand jury indictment for false tax returns, specifically reporting that he had no reportable income in 2001 and 2002, his response was that he was excused from paying taxes in the U.S. because he does not reside here.

So where does he live? Europe? Asia? The Middle East? Try heaven.

No, not like the divine Great Barrier Reef in Australia or the alpine paradise of Morzine, France. He means heaven-heaven as in, “the Kingdom of Heaven.”

That’s right. While Gentile does claim to be an American national, he is not “subject to man’s laws”  because he’s shacked up with God. It beats saying you live in a state of confusion or under a rock, although those residences are probably far more fitting.

Though he gets points for creativity, Gentile’s interesting jurisdictional argument isn’t going to get him off the hook with the government. If found guilty, the tax protester extraordinaire faces up to six years in federal prison and a $200,000 fine.  

Let’s hope for Gentile’s sake that his lawyer is able to get a subpoena to God in time to testify on his behalf.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.