A state legislator from Athol filed an answer on Thursday to the federal government's lawsuit against him seeking to collect more than half a million dollars in back-income taxes.
Rep. Phil Hart claims in the document that the IRS is wrong in asking him to pay eight years worth of business deductions, which he believes have been denied because of his book challenging the legality of the income tax.
"No, they won't accept my answer," Hart predicted of the federal government's reaction. "They never do in any lawsuit."
But his answer does kick off the legal process, he stated.
"Now we get to iron out all the details," he wrote in an email. "It will take some time."
Idaho's U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson and the U.S. Department of Justice sued Hart through the U.S. District Court last October, with a list of unpaid federal income taxes, penalties and interest from 1996 to 2008. The suit also included notices of federal tax liens recorded over several years.
The accumulated taxes stem from several years Hart refused to pay income tax out of his legal convictions. He also unsuccessfully sued the IRS in 1998 challenging the constitutionality of income tax.
All totaled, the federal government is holding Hart liable for $549,703.48.
The federal suit also pushes for foreclosure on property Hart appears to have transferred illegally.
Hart's answer, filed in the U.S. district court for the district of Idaho, states that assessments charged from 1997-2008 are barred, because the U.S. "arbitrarily denied legal deductions without justification."
According to the document, Hart believes the deductions were denied because of his refusal to turn over information to the IRS about individuals who purchased his book, "Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?"
The answer also lists other defenses, including that the federal government's claims are barred because Hart was served a 90-day notice of deficiency while he was serving in a legislative session, violating the Idaho constitution.
The document also states that part of the claims by the U.S. are barred due to partial satisfaction through payments Hart has made.
Hart has said he has paid $150,000 in state and federal taxes in the past several years.
As for the U.S. action of foreclosure, the document states that the action is barred by Idaho Code 55-918, extinguishing a cause of action with respect of a fraudulent transfer after four years.
Hart said on Thursday he believes there have been many irregularities with numbers through the whole legal process.
"We'll go through the lawsuit process and see what happens," he said.