Irwin Schiff, tax resister and candidate for 1996 L.P. nomination, dies in federal prison

Irwin Schiff, famed advocate of refusal to pay income taxes, passed away yesterday in federal prison at age 87. In 1996, Schiff sought the Libertarian nomination for President, participating in a debate with other candidates that was broadcast on C-SPAN. In 2005, Schiff was convicted on several counts of tax evasion and failure to file, and was sentenced on his 78th birthday to 12 years and 7 months in prison, a term he was still serving on his death.

Recently Irwin’s son Peter Schiff, himself a well-known libertarian and successful financial broker, plead for a mercy release of his father so he could spend his final days with his family. The request was not granted.

Our condolences to the Schiff family.

30 thoughts on “Irwin Schiff, tax resister and candidate for 1996 L.P. nomination, dies in federal prison

  1. Vicki Kirkland

    I knew Irwin Schiff when I was a Libertarian activist in New York. Sincere condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

  2. rosemary malloy

    You will not be forgotten. You exposed the criminal syndicate that is this government body and brought that awareness to the People. RIP

  3. Andy

    I met Irwin Schiff in Las Vegas, NV back in 2004. I was there working on a Marijuana Legalization initiative and I drove past his office on Sahara Ave. several times. He had a big sign outside of his office that said something like, “Why pay income tax when no law requires you to pay?” or something like that. So one day, I, along with Paul, and another Libertarian petition circulator, decided to drop in his office and pay him a visit.

    Iriwn Schiff was a good fellow, and he had a good sense of humor as well. He was also a man that had a tremendous amount of courage, and I think that he was right in his assertions about the income tax as well.

    I first became aware of Irwin Schiff at the same time that I became aware of Harry Browne, and when I found out what the Libertarian Party was. This was during the 4th of July weekend in 1996 when, while flipping through the channels on TV I stumbled upon the Libertarian Party’s National Convention. I was so enthralled by the convention that I put a tape in the VCR and started recording it, and I joined the Libertarian Party shortly after that.

    I left the tape of the 1996 Libertarian Party National Convention for some family members to watch, and unfortunately, instead of watch it (as I had asked them to do), they ended up recording over it. The only person who spoke at the Libertarian Party National Convention from 1996 that was shown on C-SPAN that I can remember from seeing it back in 1996 besides Harry Browne was Irwin Schiff. So Irwin Schiff definitely made an impression on me.

    I started researching the Tax Honesty Movement in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This was the next time I encountered Irwin Schiff. I looked into his stuff, as was as materials from Bob Schulz (We The People Foundation), Joe Bannister (former IRS agent), Larken Rose, Peymon Mottadeh (Freedom Law School), Bill Benson, John Kotmair (Save-A-Patriot Fellowship), Dave Champion, and some others. After spending a lot of time looking into it, I came to the conclusion that these people were correct, especially after noticing how the government weaseled out of debating Bob Schulz and his panels of experts after they had promised to participate in a debate at the Press Club in Washington DC, and also how the government refused to respond to any of the petitions for a redress of grievances put out by Bob Schulz and his We The People Foundation.

    Some people may say, “Irwin Schiff went to prison. This proves that he was wrong.” My response to this is that just because he went to prison, it does not mean that he was guilty of anything. The fact of the matter is that Irwin Schiff never received a fair trial. He was never allowed to present certain evidence. The deck was stacked against him and he was convicted in a Kangaroo Court. The government never proved its case against him.

    Irwin Schiff was a political prisoner. He was imprisoned not because he had engaged in any acts of violence, theft, or destruction of property, and not because he had broken any law, but rather because he was exposing things that the government did not want to be exposed, and because he was challenging the government’s authority. I just listened to a recent interview with Irwin’s son Peter, and it sounds like Irwin was treated in a pretty appalling manner in prison. This man should never have gone to prison and he should be regarded as a national hero.

    Irwin Schiff died alone in prison, the victim of a corrupt government.

    RIP, Irwin Schiff.

  4. Andy

    Peter Schiff was interviewed by Alex Jones just a few weeks ago. During the course of the interview one of the topics they discussed was the horrible treatment his father was receiving in prison. Peter Schiff comes in about 4 minutes into the video.

    Irwin Schiff’s Life Sentence and America’s End Game

  5. Andy

    Here’s a clip of Irwin Schiff at the Truth In Taxation Hearing organized by Bob Schulz back in February of 2002. Schulz put together a panel of experts, which included Irwin Schiff, and they challenged the IRS to a public debate. The debate was to be broadcast on C-SPAN and it was to be held at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The IRS said they were going to send representatives to participate in the debate, but then they backed out at the last minute, so instead of having a debate, the event turned into a symposium. It was broadcast on C-SPAN, but it was only shown on C-SPAN one time, even though C-SPAN typically shows things they record more than once.

    Irwin Schiff — Was Right

  6. Andy

    Here is Larken Rose on why he does not talk about how the government misapplies the income tax much anymore. Basically, his point here is that most of the public is so indoctrinated into the belief that government officials are “Authority Figures,” and that it is “bad” to question “authority,” so most people will not even bother to look into the fact that government “Authority Figures” may be wrong about something, never mind that the fact that government officials routinely lie and misrepresent what the law. So Larken has shifted his focus to exposing the “authority” myth and trying to break people’s belief in government officials being “Authority Figures” who should not be questioned.

  7. paulie

    This is heartbreaking. I hope he gets some peace now.

    Indeed. Even those who don’t agree with his tax views should be appalled by the ill treatment in court and prison that he received.

  8. NewFederalist

    “The government never proved its case against him.
    Irwin Schiff was a political prisoner. He was imprisoned not because he had engaged in any acts of violence, theft, or destruction of property, and not because he had broken any law, but rather because he was exposing things that the government did not want to be exposed, and because he was challenging the government’s authority.” – Andy

    You are absolutely correct, Andy. Irwin Schiff is an example of what we all should aspire to become but the vast majority of us (myself included) lack the courage. He would have gladly signed the Declaration of Independence and taken the grief that most of the signers actually did. I rate him right up there with those brave individuals who pledged their “Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor.” He really and truly did. God rest his soul!

  9. George Whitfield

    I am sorry to hear of Irwin Schiff’s death and his poor treatment in prison. My condolences to Peter Schiff and the rest of their family. Irwin Schiff was a very courageous patriot.

  10. Bondurant

    Legitimate violent felons have been released upon death on compassionate grounds. Fuck off, though, if you don’t pay taxes. This is nuts.

  11. paulie

    Here’s a link to an article written by Irwin Schiff’s son, Peter Schiff, about his father passing away.

    http://www.infowars.com/irwin-schiff-passes-away/

    Even if you normally avoid Infowars you should read this. It’s a very stark example of how your tax money is really used. There are many, many more examples than we could possibly discuss here, but the bottom line is that this kind of abuse is far more typical of the end uses tax money is put to than any supposed good that is ever done with any of it.

  12. paulie

    Legitimate violent felons have been released upon death on compassionate grounds.

    As Peter Schiff touches on in the video interview linked above, real criminals are far less concern to the regime than political prisoners.

    Fuck off, though, if you don’t pay taxes. This is nuts.

    Normally I would discourage debating the merits on a memorial thread, but in this case it was what he lived and died for, so I am inclined to say have at it. But do at least read Peter Schiff’s article and/or listen to his interview first. Both if you can. Just to put it in perspective.

  13. Andy

    Paul said: “‘Fuck off, though, if you don’t pay taxes. This is nuts.’

    Normally I would discourage debating the merits on a memorial thread, but in this case it was what he lived and died for, so I am inclined to say have at it. But do at least read Peter Schiff’s article and/or listen to his interview first. Both if you can. Just to put it in perspective.”

    I think that you misinterpreted what the person above meant. It appeared to me that they meant that the state thinks that people who don’t pay taxes should “Fuck off,” as in go to prison and be mistreated, and that the poster finds this attitude from the state to be nuts. This is how I interpreted their comments anyway.

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