I have used the term ‘person’ a number of times, and I believe it deserves some special attention. It derives from the Latin ‘persona,’ an actor’s mask, used in Greek and Roman times for two purposes…to identify the stage character—for one actor often played more than one role, so he would simply switch masks—and to project his voice by means of a megaphone-shaped mouth…per sona, by sound. Hence, our word ‘personality,’ that about ourselves which we project to others. In some, more than others, a presentation that indeed masks our true character or nature. In the Middle Ages it came to be used as synonymous with ‘homo,’ man or individual. This was not the case in ancient (and modern) Roman law. As one legal historian put it:
jus personarum did not mean law of persons, or rights of persons, but law of status, or condition. A person is here not a physical or individual person, but the status or condition with which he is invested. (34 Austins Jur., 363. Emphasis added.)
In the 15th century, "person came to be used in legal terminology for one (as a human being, a partnership, or a corporation) that is recognized by the law as the subject of rights and duties." (Merriam-Webster’s New Book of Word Histories, 1991. Emphasis added.) Note here that it is only the ‘human being’ in his person, as a subject of rights and duties. As Ortolan says, in his History of the Roman Law:
The word ‘person’ (persona) does not in the language of the law, as in ordinary language, designate the physical man. In the first, it is every being considered as capable of having or owing rights, of being the active or passive subject of rights.
We say every being, for men are not alone comprised therein. In fact, law by its power of abstraction creates persons….because it makes of them beings capable of having or owing rights….
We shall therefore have to discriminate between, and to study, two classes of person: physical or natural persons, for which we find no distinctive denomination in Roman jurisprudence…; that is to say, the man-person; and abstract persons, which are fictitious and which have no existence except in law; that is to say, those which are purely legal conceptions or creations.
In another sense, very frequently employed, the word ‘person’ designates each character man is called upon to play on the judicial stage; that is to say, each quality which gives him certain rights or certain obligations—for instance, the person of father; of son as subject to his father; of husband or guardian. In this sense the same man can have several personae at the same time. (Emphasis added.)
The Internal Revenue Code is Roman or civil law, together with its sibling, maritime or admiralty law. Thus, as I discuss below, the Supreme Court clearly states that all income taxes are on corporations, as set forth in the Corporation Tax Act of 1909, not on people. That is why all 48 titles always speak of persons, never people, human beings, or men or women; a fiction can only deal with a fiction.
This was made clear even before the Constitution, in The Federalist Papers, No. 15:
Except as to the rule of apportionment, the United States have an indefinite discretion to make requisitions for men and money; but they have no authority to raise either by regulations extending to the individual citizens of America. (Emphasis added.)
Let me put a little flesh on these bones. The Supreme Court stated in Edwards v. Cuba RR Co., 268 US 628 that:
…the meaning of ‘income’ as used in the Corporation Excise Tax Law of 1909 is not to be distinguished from the meaning of the same word as used in the Income Tax Law of 1913 and the Revenue Act of 1916. Merchants’ Loan & Trust Co. v. Smietanka 255 US 509. (Emphasis added.)
However, as pointed out by Kenneth Weiland, it is of interest to note, also, a Federal Claims Court case, Maryland Casualty Co. v. U.S.:
By the act of August 5, 1909, a special excise tax was imposed upon the privilege of carrying on business by corporations. It was in reality a license to carry on business….The Income Tax Act of October 3, 1913, should be considered as a statutory construction of the act of August 5, 1909, in so far as it related to the basis of taxation. (December Term, 1916-17 [52 C. Cls.] Emphasis added. This will take on further meaning toward the end of this paper.)
Be it noted that in the California Penal Code ‘person’ is clearly distinguished from ‘Citizen.’ Penal Code § 228 states: "Any citizen of this state who shall fight a duel…" While at § 232 it states: "Any person of this state who fights a duel…" (Emphasis added.)
"In common usage, the term ‘person’ does not include the sovereign…[and] statutes employing the [word] are ordinarily construed to exclude it." Wilson v. Omaha Indian Tribe, 442 U.S. 653, 667 (1979), quoting United States v. Cooper Corp. 312 U.S. 600, 604 (1941).
The term of art ‘individual’ is also frequently employed in the codes. Which is even more sneaky, because most people believe this word to be, for all intents and purposes, synonymous with ‘a human being’…what the law refers to as a ‘natural person.’ Roman law hardly referred to such a physical being, except the rare usage of singularis persona—which, however, still employs ‘persona,’ thereby preserving a juridical nexus, inapplicable to a sentient man (homo). An abstract, fictitious ‘person’ is needed. Recall Judge Bork, on page 11, above, saying that 90% of those in prison were there because they consented to the process? You consent when you agree to be subject to a statute dealing with persons—which we have seen to be fictional corporate constructs or entities. The code—any of the 48 titles—only applies to a human being at the point s/he agrees to take on the character, status, persona of an artificial juristic persona. Always remember that when the code says "…any person," it means "any person in the jurisdiction of this code." One obligates oneself to the civil code by an act of assumpsit…i.e., volunteering to be that ‘person.’ (Assumpsit: "A promise or engagement by which one person assumes or undertakes to do some act or pay something to another." Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th edition. Recall the Chisholm case, above.) You will never see in any code, State or federal, the word ‘man’ or ‘woman’…or ‘people’—at least I don’t recall having done so—only the juristic, statutory ‘person.’
People are understandably confused about on what I believe to be the correct signification of a particular class of persons, namely, a ‘natural person.’ It is almost always used loosely to refer to the physical, sentient human being. Indeed, in statutory law this is the term of choice for a living man—but always in a qualified sense. At 26 CFR 1.6049-4(f) Definitions we read:
The term natural person means any individual, but shall not include a partnership (whether or not composed entirely of individuals), a trust, or an estate. (Emphasis added.)
Notice carefully how they see it as both possible and necessary to qualify ‘individual.’ If this term stood for a living man, it would be pointless and ridiculous to say that it could not be a trust or an estate! They wouldn’t say that a man shall not include an estate.
So then, we see that ‘person,’ ‘natural person,’ and ‘individual’ are all fictitious legal creations. And, if you acquiesce to being any of them, in a legal setting, you thereby agree that the code addresses and applies to you.
This is why some have an aversion to referring to their appearance in court as being ‘in propria persona’…which some do to avoid pleading pro se, ‘for oneself,’ when appearing without an attorney. They don’t want to represent themselves, but be themselves. And, since ‘in propria persona’ means ‘in one’s own proper person,’ it would seem to overcome this objection. Be this as it may—and I am aware of many arguments pro and con—the court still refers to your appearance as being pro se. Personally, if I found myself in that situation, I would appear in rerum natura, ‘in the realm of actuality; in existence,’ (Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th edition) the opposite of being a fictitious person.
We should look, too, at the very first term in the general definition chapter for the entire IRC: Section 7701(a)(1)—and well they should begin there, for all statutory law rests on the foundation of this juristic fabrication.
Person. The term ‘person’ shall be construed to mean and include an individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company, or corporation.
Therefore, since we now know that, in law, ‘person’ can not be anything but a fictitious juridical creation, it follows ineluctably that if ‘individual’ is said to mean the exact same thing, then it must also refer to the same type of unnatural and artificial entity as ‘person.’
This is pretty well nailed down by a couple of cites from the CFR. At 5 CFR 582.101(4) we read:
Persons may include an individual, partnership, corporation, association, joint venture, private organization or other legal entity, and includes the plural of that term; person may include any of the entities that may issue legal process as set forth in… (Emphasis added.)
In 7 CFR 400.303(m) we find:
Person means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, or other legal entity, and whenever applicable, a State or a political subdivision, or agency of a State. (Emphasis added.)
Here it is in the regulations, an individual is a ‘legal entity,’ not a (wo)man, a sentient human being.
So, it makes perfect sense that 5 USC 552a(a)(2) should hold that "the term ‘individual’ means a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence; (3)…" (Emphasis added.) For a ‘citizen’ is certainly a juristic ‘person.’
A discussion of ‘person,’ however, would not be complete without reference to 26 USC 7343 Definition of term "person." This is at the very end of Chapter 75 Crimes, Other Offenses and Forfeitures, which includes such goodies as § 7203 Willful failure to file return, supply information, or pay tax, which begins: "Any person required under this title to pay…" (Emphasis added.)
Section 7343 reads in its entirety:
The term ‘person’ as used in this chapter includes [is restricted to] an officer or employee of a corporation [such as the U.S. or some company incorporated in the federal zone], or a member or employee of a partnership, who as such officer, employee, or member is under a duty to perform the act in respect to which the violation occurs.
For starters, Section 7203 is a penalty section and makes no attempt to establish any liability. Plus, the implementing regulations are in Title 27 BATF…meaning that it is exclusively for their use, with excise taxes! It has nothing to do with the IRS. Leaving all that aside, do you believe that you could be charged as being the person described above? Do you work for the federal government or a domestic (U.S., not State) corporation?
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