Not paying taxes saves you money...until it doesn't

If committing your day to 4,800 words about income taxes isn't your idea of fun, do yourself a favor and sit down with Jason Zengerle's "Hell Nay, We Won't Pay!" from Sunday's New York Times Magazine. Think I'm kidding? Here's the story's lead: "On Monday, April 16, 1990, millions of Americans sent their tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. Peter Hendrickson sent a bomb."

Just in time for Tax Day, the article exhaustively documents America's restive tax-protest movement -- if such a Balkanized, ragtag crew can be called a movement. Every year, when it isn't fielding bombs from its constituents, the I.R.S. receives as many as 100,000 tax returns it considers frivolous, which bureaucrats place in what they call "the funny box." You don't have to be frivolous to be labeled as such, according to Zengerle (who, in full disclosure, is a friend of mine). Any tax rebel who files a so-called "educated return" after learning, erroneously, that income taxes are unconstitutional, or that only income earned outside the U.S. is taxable, usually winds up having to defend his or her actions in court. And not surprisingly, the court always seems to win.