Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Did they pay the duty?

Well, Varsha and Mahender Sabhnani now stand accused of keeping two Indonesian women as slaves. They have yet to be convicted of these very serious criminal charges, but the evidence is very compelling.

As usual, I shall leave the sensationalism to the tabloids, and view their situation from a taxation perspective.

Imprimis, this "innocent until proven guilty" presumption is a legal fiction which ensures that the government fulfills its standard of proof, namely, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The presumption has no application outside of the courtroom where a criminal proceeding is in the works (but in that courtroom, it is an absolute requisite for our system of laws). Specifically, in civil tax cases, the IRS need only make its case by some substantial evidence; the taxpayer (or non-payer, as the case may be) then must rebut the IRS determination by a preponderance of evidence. Not nearly the "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of criminal cases.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution reads: "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person." Was such a tax or duty imposed by Congress? If so, is it applicable today? And if so, did the Sabhnanis pay it for their two slave girls?

Just wondering! Maybe some day, when I have nothing better to do (or, if I am retained for the purpose), I shall check this one out.

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