Tea for one
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In Oregon, my former business - Rent-A-Nerd computer consulting - has been suspended permanently, thanks to the Oregon state bureaucracy. Foremost among the culprits is the Tax Section of the Oregon Employment Department. Through the misguided efforts of this confederacy of dunces, it was made ethically and economically impossible for me to continue to operate Rent-A-Nerd. Some may find the story of interest, so I wrote a novella about it and also about how I feel about it.
I wrote Tea for one partially in an attempt to provide myself with anger management therapy, an attempt to get past what has been taken from me, what I have lost through this "travesty of a mockery of a sham" - to quote Woody Allen.
Tea for one is also a cautionary tale, an attempt to inform others about the injustices that the State is inclined to inflict upon those who try to operate very small businesses, for the benefit of those who operate larger businesses. Half of my novella is a fictional account of a "nerd going postal" - the other half is a non-fiction explanation for that seemingly extreme fictional reaction.
I chose to e-publish Tea for one at Smashwords. It can be downloaded for FREE at this link: smashwords.com/b/35040
Smashwords makes e-published written works available in various e-reader compatible file formats including both .epub and .pdf formats.
Note: .pdf and .epub files are readable on your computer if you have the correct Adobe software installed, various versions are downloadable for free!
Since I wrote and published Tea for one, my ongoing battle with the Oregon Employment Dept. and the State of Oregon has continued. My legal options in this battle have become more limited and much more expensive, likely prohibitively. However, on the second front - the court of public opinion, things are looking better. To begin with, tax reform is currently a hot-button issue, generating a lot of discussion and debate.
In my opinion, the first item on any tax reformers agenda should be the revocation of the presumption of prima facie correctness, which places the burden of disproof on accused citizens like myself. Tax levying authorities have this obviously unfair and unconstitutional tool in their favor in most tax cases.
Tax reform and government accountability are long-overdue common purposes that all citizens share. If interested, please check out > taxcrackpot.net and also 9tea9.net
To illustrate only one example of the need for change, I describe below my ongoing, public opinion battle with the Oregon bureaucracy. Although progress has been slow, it has brought out some truly incredible items:
The Tax Man's Hall of Shame
A. The first false premise of the Oregon Employment Dept. (OED) which they utilized to levy an unemployment insurance tax upon me, essentially taxed me for transactions in which I am neither the payer, nor the payee. They claimed that they can do so because I supposedly indirectly paid the affiliated technicians, in spite of the fact that they were actually directly paid by the customers for services rendered. There were no monies from me or my accounts going to the customers for any such indirect payment to the technicians. My business income derived from referral fees that the technicians paid me twice a month.
B. The Employment department has refused to answer my question regarding what the technicians were paying me for (undoubtedly for the services I directly performed for them). They also have not answered the question of why they are able to selectively apply ORS 657.040, which clearly states that when an individual is paid for providing a service, there are only two possibilities, the individual is either an employee or an independent contractor. If applied to the transaction between myself and the technicians who paid me, it clearly and unambiguously determines the business relationship I had with the affiliated technicians. The clear result is that I was an independent contractor directly paid by the technicians to provide promotional, organizational, and administrative services directly to the affiliated technicians, who are thus shown to have been my customers. Instead, the OED (Oregon Employment Dept.) contended that I indirectly paid the technicians and that the technicians indirectly provided services for my benefit. The OED claimed that the affiliated technicians were my employees, unless I had been able to prove that they were independent contractors, the two choices mandated by the OED's selective application of ORS 657.040 to this supposed indirect transaction.
C. In the first hearing, I was accused of being an employer, and was presumed guilty unless I can prove a negative - prove that I am not an employer. This is based upon the presumption of prima facie correctness of the OED determinations, which places the burden of disproof upon the accused, similarly applied in most tax cases. In an incredible circular argument, in the first hearing the OED contended that I am a Unemployment Insurance taxable employer because I supposedly indirectly paid the affiliated technicians. In the second hearing about their subsequent payroll tax audit and assessment, my newly hired attorney informed me that their argument would be that since I was an employer, I must have indirectly paid the affiliated technicians wages! The presumption of prima facie correctness also applies to their payroll audit assessments. The Administrative Law Judge, whose paycheck comes directly from the OED, refused to postpone the scheduled second hearing sufficiently for me to obtain documentary evidence from the IRS which would address the indirect payment issue in relation to federal business income tax accounting practices and the federal definition of income. His denial of my request for a postponement essentially denied me an opportunity to disprove the OED claim that I indirectly paid the technicians wages and thus disprove the truth and accuracy of their audit. During the long Court of Appeals review of the first hearing, the Oregon Department of Justice, representing the OED, requested and received more than six months of postponements because their caseload was too heavy. I also found it amazing that the OED refused to answer questions or discuss the payment issue prior to the hearing, so I did not find out about their phantom payroll concept until during the hearing at which it was my burden to disprove it.
D. The second false premise of the OED was that it is somehow possible for me to make quarterly payroll reports based upon their phantom payroll concept, my term for their claim that I had somehow indirectly paid the technicians. A provision within ORS 657 specifically requires employers to provide true and accurate quarterly payroll reports, listing their employees and accounting the wages the employees have been paid for the services rendered. Employers are required to certify the truth and accuracy of these quarterly reports with their signatures. I contend that since I was not a party to these transactions, I had no way of certifying how much customers paid affiliated technicians for computer services rendered. I also argued that the Legislature would not have made impossible demands of otherwise legitimate businesses, which indicates that the language of the law directly contradicts the OED phantom payroll concept.
E. The third false premise of the OED was that their phantom payroll concept, that I indirectly paid the affiliated technicians, was supported by state and federal tax codes and business accounting rules and practices. My real business income, the referral fee amounts paid me by the technicians, amounted to about one third of the amount of my supposed payroll. Since wages paid are a deductible business expense, if I deducted their phantom payroll from my real income on my federal schedule C, my business would have been operating each year with a sizable loss. Thus, if I were to apply their indirect wage payment concept and make that deduction, it seems likely that I would be guilty of income tax fraud.
F. The fourth false premise - a real humdinger delivered to me on Oregon Dept. of Revenue (ODR) letterhead and signed by a senior policy analyst - is that the amounts that the customers directly paid the technicians, which the technicians accepted and deposited into their own accounts and spent as they pleased, constituted my income. This mind-blowing idea is necessary for the books to balance as a result of item E, above, and is best characterized as the reason that Pinocchio's nose grows. Once invested in a false premise, attempts to support it tend to snowball and become increasingly unbelievable. This last false premise means that not only did I supposedly have a phantom payroll, but in order for the OED's phantom payroll concept to work, according to the ODR I must have had phantom income as well. Since I was therefore not a party to my own income, not only was there no way for me to sign quarterly payroll reports, there was also no way for me to sign my own income tax returns, since I could have no way of knowing how much phantom income I made!
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