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August 13, 2003
Jury Acquits Pilot on Tax Evasion Charges

A federal jury in Memphis acquitted a pilot, whom the government accused of submitting false W4 forms from 1996 to 2001, on six counts of tax evasion, the New York Times reports.

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The pilot, Vernice Kuglin, testified that in 1995 she had sent the Internal Revenue Service letters requesting that the agency inform her of what law requires her to pay income tax, but she said she received no response. The IRS contends such requests are frivolous, according to the newspaper. She claims that after she did not receive a response, she submitted a withholding statement to her employer indicating that no taxes should be withheld from her pay.

Kuglin says she earned $920,000 as a pilot for FedEx from 1996 to 2001, and no taxes were withheld. Normal withholding would have been $250,000, the newspaper reports.

The federal prosecutor in the trial says the government intends to seek collection through civil action.

Kuglin's attorney, Lowell H. Becraft Jr., says his client's letters prove a lack of criminal intent to evade taxes.

"The whole thing could have been resolved if the government had simply answered her questions," Becraft says. "It didn't happen. I made an argument to the jury that an American has a right to ask the government for answers. A lot of people in the tax movement do not hide, they are in the face of the I.R.S. and they write letters that set forth their position. And while a lot of them are not articulate or well grounded in legal positions, they have some things they want answered."


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