A Christian man from Oregon who hasn't paid his taxes because he's opposed to abortion has won his case in court. A district judge ruled in his favor after prosecutors filed a case against him for tax evasion dating back to 1999.
Michael Bowman, who works as a contract engineer, has received notices from the IRS for his tax dues spanning several years when he failed to file properly. The agency penalized him for as much as $356,857 for the payments missed.
He confirmed in a Youtube video posted last December 2017 that his refusal to pay his taxes was not a protest against tax as such but that he didn't want to help fund agencies that perform abortion because it goes against his religious beliefs.
In his court documents filed in February, Bowman alleged that the government must also respect his Christian convictions as much as it respects or supports women's rights, LGBT and transgender rights, and the rights of illegal immigrants. The state's Department of Revenue, however, reportedly garnished his bank account in January 2012 to pressure him to file and pay taxes, but Bowman took action and changed how he managed his finances.
Bowman cashed out his checks as soon as he got them and left just a minimum balance on his bank account. The court declared that his behavior could not be considered as tax evasion as he never hid his income from the government.
"Cashing a check at your own bank, made out to you, representing income contemporaneously disclosed by employers through 1099 and W-2 forms to the IRS is not 'handling one's affairs to avoid making records,'" the defense's lawyer Matthew Schindler argued.
Judge Michael W. Mosman agreed with Schindler's argument and ruled last Wednesday that "not everything that makes collection efforts more difficult qualifies as evasion." Bowman, however, still needs to face the court for other tax charges as his conscious intention to not file for tax returns is still being considered a misdemeanor by the IRS.