First Amendment

Tax Protest Groups Can’t Solicit


A federal judge has barred two tax protest groups from circulating materials that advise citizens how to avoid paying federal income taxes.

Judge Thomas McAvoy of Binghamton, N.Y., said the two groups are promoting an illegal tax shelter, the New York Law Journal reports. First Amendment protections don’t apply when statements are likely to result in illegal conduct, he said.

“Defendants’ materials are intended to cause employees to believe that they need not pay an income tax and employers to believe that they need not withhold taxes from employees’ wages or pay matching amounts,” he wrote.

The groups are We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education Inc. and We the People Congress. McAvoy granted the injunction in a suit filed by the U.S. Justice Department that claims the groups’ activities have cost the government more than $21 million.

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