An Oregon man hasn’t paid federal income taxes since 1999. He says it’s because his Christian ideals don’t allow him to pay into a system that funds abortions.
So far, the courts are on his side. This could be big.
Federal Judge Michael W. Mosman has dismissed a felony tax evasion charge against the man, Michael Bowman.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Mosman ruled that the government’s indictment failed to provide any evidence that Bowman tried to conceal money from or misled the IRS by cashing his paychecks instead of depositing them and keeping a low bank balance so tax collectors couldn’t garnish wages from it to pay what it says are back taxes owed.
According to Bowman’s federal indictment, the self-employed computer software developer owes back taxes on at least $800,000 of income and falsely claimed he was owed several refunds. The feds claim he started using the religious argument for not paying his taxes only after his “’Claim of Right’ tax avoidance scheme failed.”
The taxes and penalties due associated with that income is $356,857.
That indictment came down in February 2017, and Mosman dismissed it without prejudice Wednesday, which means the prosecutors could seek a new indictment to replace it. Bowman still faces four misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file tax returns.
Bowman says he’s been up front with authorities all along.
Bowman’s defense in the larger scope of his refusal to pay taxes comes from a 1993 law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits government from substantially burdening a person’s religious exercise unless the government demonstrates a compelling government interest and does so through the least restrictive means.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the Police State crush Mr. Bowman, or will he and his religious beliefs prevail?
The federal government’s long love affair with taxpayer funded abortions is going to be difficult to break-up. Mr. Bowman’s greatest challenges are probably still before him.