A black Columbus attorney believes the Internal Revenue Service should stop taxing black Americans and give them a refund on all taxes paid since 1913.
William Wright, 64, filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court in Columbus, seeking $25,000 in taxes he's paid since 1963. He also wants a refund for all black taxpayers since the tax code was passed in 1913 and a moratorium on taxes in the future, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
Wright contends that because the 1913 law applies to "citizens and aliens," blacks should be exempt from paying taxes. Blacks are neither citizens nor aliens, he says, "by reason of the denial of basic rights of citizenship." The law violates blacks' rights to equal protection and due process, his lawsuit says.
The federal government and IRS attorneys have 30 days to respond to the suit.
Wright says he has suffered from discrimination all his life, and he cites examples of local discrimination in his lawsuit. For example, he said that black police officers were not hired in Columbus until 1952.
He said he got the idea to sue the IRS after a 1996 dispute in which he said he was charged more than $500 for the IRS' mistake.
"They wanted to charge me penalties and interest and all that kind of stuff, and it ran along until it was over $3,000. I said the hell with that. There's got to be a better way," he said.
"I've always felt these tax laws were unfair, so why not just go ahead and file a lawsuit and deal with it."