SAN FRANCISCO — Federal agents with a grand jury indictment Friday arrested author and tax protester Irwin A. Schiff just as he was about to go on the air at a Sacramento radio station, Internal Revenue Service officials said here.
The indictment, handed down Thursday in New Haven, Conn., accuses Schiff, 57, of Hamden, Conn., author of anti-tax books, of failing to pay $49,000 in income taxes from 1980 through 1982. In addition to those felonies, he is accused of a misdemeanor, failing to file a corporate income tax return for his insurance company, Irwin A. Schiff Inc.
Schiff was convicted in 1980 of failing to pay income taxes in 1974 and 1975. IRS spokesman Larry Wright said that Schiff spent six months in prison and paid a $10,000 fine for those offenses.
Federal Magistrate Esther Mix in Sacramento released Schiff late Friday afternoon after he signed a personal bond promising to appear for arraignment Monday in Connecticut.
Before he was released, however, Schiff lectured the judge about what he believes to be the shortcomings of the federal tax and justice systems, IRS spokesman Wright said.
Schiff is the author of four books, including "How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Taxes" and "The Great Income Tax Hoax," which advocate methods that he claims will allow people to avoid paying federal levies.
Wright said that Schiff is "probably the best-known tax protester in the country" and said his theories--including one that income tax forms violate constitutional guarantees against self-incrimination--occasionally are used, without success, in federal tax courts.