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Arrests Tax Protestor
Auburn Man Says Federal Tax Laws Unconstitutional
by Carol Robidoux, Union Leader Staff
March 11, 2003
Last Friday, self-proclaimed tax protester Steven A. Swan of Auburn was arrested
by IRS special agents at the Auburn Post Office on 18 counts of violating federal
income tax laws he's convinced are unconstitutional.
Swan has, for years, been holding seminars to teach others why he believes
the federal income tax is unconstitutional and why people shouldn't have to
file annual returns.
Last March, the IRS raided Swan's home at 73 Chester Road and confiscated
22 boxes of documents. And on Friday, he was arrested and charged with "corruptly
endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the tax laws."
Swan was also charged with aiding and assisting in the preparation of false
income tax returns for his customers from 1996 through 2001, and of willfully
making false amended income tax returns for himself for 1993 and 1994.
He was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Concord where he pleaded not guilty
to all charges. He said last night that he plans to defend himself in court
on May 6.
If convicted, Swan will face three years in prison and $250,000 for each of
the 18 counts against him.
"Am I worried? Any time the government indicts you, you have to be worried.
But one thing that I can rely on is that, before I can be found guilty, they
have to prove I believed there was a law," Swan said.
Swan says he still believes income taxes are unconstitutional, only his theory
has changed since he began his crusade against the IRS seven years ago.
Back then he was a new follower of the theories of another well-known tax
protester, Irwin Schiff of Nevada, who was a Libertarian candidate in the 1996
New Hampshire Presidential primary.
Schiff said--and still believes--people shouldn't pay taxes because there's
no law that says you have to. Swan promoted that belief for five years before
he discovered what he says is the real intent of the 16th Amendment: to tax
"At first I was still a follower of Schiff's and I believed as he does,
that paying tax was voluntary. But then I realized some of his theories were
incorrect. After the IRS came and searched my home last year, I realized the
last theories of his were also incorrect," said Swan.
"That's when I filed a suit against him, and launched a Web site refuting
his information and to warn others," said the former real estate agent.
Swan filed a lawsuit against Schiff last May in U.S. District Court in Las
Vegas that's still pending, seeking $1 million in personal damages for his
problems with the IRS, which he blames on Schiff's "misinformation."
Schiff, contacted by the Union Leader last night on his way home from giving
a zero-income tax seminar in California, said Swan has made his own trouble.
"He would have to be an idiot to claim I misled him and it tok him five
years to figure it out," Schiff said.
"Now that he's told the government that all the returns he filed, based
on my theory were incorrect, he has to admit in court that he filed false documents.
Why didn't he amend them if he knew they were wrong?"
Schiff said he stands by his zero-income tax beliefs, despite Swan's suit.
"His lawsuit is nonsense. Steve's been a crybaby and a mooch his whole
life. I've been filing zero-income tax returns for 13 years, and no one's come
for me. So no, I don't feel sorry for him. He made his bed, now let him sleep