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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bleg for Roderick Long

Roderick Long, of Austro-Athenian Empire and the Molinari Institute, has fallen into the clutches of the Alabama state tax authorities.

Several months ago, the Alabama Department of Revenue decided I’d underpaid on state taxes from ten years earlier. (I wasn’t aware of having done so, but I don’t have those records any more and so can’t prove otherwise.) After they’d added on interest and late fees, the total due was about $12,000. I submitted a request form to pay it off in installments; they never said yes or no to the request form, but I kept sending in payments and they kept cashing them, which led me to be more sanguine than in retrospect I should have been.

Then suddenly today, without warning or announcement (either from the tax department or from my bank), the tax department completely cleared out my checking account, and my savings account, and my mother’s checking account (I guess because we’re joint on it), leaving me $8000 overdrawn to boot....

Roderick adds, in the comments, that no court order was served to him ahead of time. Or if it was, it was apparently like the order to demolish Arthur Dent's house, which was "available in the local planning office for the last nine months":

It was on display in the bottom of a locked file cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard."

This sounds way too much like one of those horror stories in a James Bovard book. Absolutely no advance notice that Roderick's monthly payments were unacceptable, or that they intended to seize his funds. And they actually seized non-existent funds and left the checking account overdrawn, which stinks of collusion between the tax authorities and the bank.

Anyway, as Roderick says, this leaves him with no money whatever for rent or food for the rest of the summer, until his academic salary resumes in September.

If you go to his blog post, he includes both a PayPal button and a snailmail address. Roderick says he can still get cash out of PayPal without going through his bank account, but I'd advise sending a money order. Who knows how long it will be before the tax filth figure out they can seize that account as well? Also keep in mind that he's heavily overdrawn at the bank, so any check you send will likely be seized by the bank when he tries to deposit it.

P.S. You might get a laugh out of the Alabama Department of Revenue's Mission Statement:

The Alabama Department of Revenue will efficiently and effectively administer the revenue laws in an equitable, courteous and professional manner to fund the governmental services for the citizens of Alabama.
PPS. Update! It turns out his account was actually garnished by a credit card company. Whether he actually owed them money is not yet clear, but they did indeed clean out his bank account without prior notice, and his financial situation is still as dire as described.


Blogger Minnesota Chris said...

Roderick said in an update that the levy was actually for a credit card he thought he paid back 20 years ago, and for which he had absolutely no warning:


July 22, 2009 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Roderick T. Long said...

Thanks -- but people should read this update before donating:


July 22, 2009 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Solar Hero said...

If you play with vipers, you might get bit. You think you can trust the banks?

My bank account is merely a bill-paying assistant, I never keep a large balance there.

Lesson learned.

July 30, 2009 9:56 AM  

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