Ticking the box that asks whether you are a U.S. Citizen needs further clarification.
Baseball star Carlos Correa begins the 2016 season as the reigning American League Rookie of the Year. The 21-year-old Houston Astros shortstop is one of a hundred or so Puerto Rican-born players in Major League Baseball. That means he was born outside the Constitutional Republic, but works in Texas, a sovereign state of the Union.
Few people realize that Correa is a U.S. Citizen, one of two very different types of U.S. Citizen to which he and approximately 3.7 million other Puerto Ricans are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress.
Correa is a statutory “U.S. Citizen,” which means — unlike a constitutional U.S. Citizen — he doesn’t possess the protections of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
If he were to apply for a U.S. passport, he would have to check the box next to “U.S. Citizen.” Yet for the hundreds of millions of Americans born in one of the 50 states of the Union, the world is quite a bit different.
Constitutional Americans possess rights like free speech, the freedom to bear arms and protections against government intrusion into privacy, things Correa and his Puerto Rican brethren do not enjoy. Statutory “U.S. Citizens” are more closely associated with subjects of a monarchy, the monarchy in this case being Congress. This also makes Correa unavoidably a U.S. taxpayer, wherever he may reside in the world.
Constitutional Americans are U.S. Taxpayers only by choice. This difference in jurisdictional boundaries is critical to understand for those born in one of the 50 states.
“Simply checking a ‘U.S. Citizen’ box on a federal form, without specifying which type you are, leaves the National Government the freedom to treat you like a statutory citizen,” said Adele Weiss, principal at Weiss+Associates, a European-based consultancy firm specializing in the Federal Income Tax. “You can bet they will assume you are a statutory citizen when it benefits them to do so. You have to know who you are and protect your rights accordingly.”
Jurisdiction is a key issue for all Americans to know, as they are the only ones who can accurately articulate their proper status to the National Government, bankers and employers.
For Correa, he is only a statutory “U.S. Citizen.” The 1922 Supreme Court case, Balzac v. Porto Rico ruled that certain provisions of the U.S. Constitution do not apply within the various territories not granted statehood. Chief Justice William H. Taft, who a decade earlier as President was the inspiration behind the 16th Amendment creating the Federal Income Tax, delivered the unanimous decision of the Court.
The basics of the court case centered on Jesús M. Balzac, a Puerto Rican newspaper editor who was denied a jury trial after being charged with libel. The Supreme Court upheld a Puerto Rican lower court ruling stating that he did not possess the right to such a trial available to those in sovereign states via the 6th Amendment, since Puerto Rico was not a state.
The ruling shed much light on the key differences between constitutional U.S. Citizens and statutory “U.S. Citizens.” Still today, some 94 years later, many Americans don’t realize there even exists two separate and distinct definitions of terms like United States and U.S. Citizen.
For those born in one of the 50 states, Weiss suggests that it is OK for people to check the box next to “U.S. Citizen” then writing beneath/beside it the following verbiage: “Not to be confused with a statutory ‘U.S. Citizen’ defined at 8 USC 1401(a) or at 3C Am Jur 2d Section 2689.”
“This eliminates any confusion that is created when simply checking the box (for ‘U.S. Citizen’ on a government form),” added Weiss. “It’s very clear that the National Government is using this duality of meanings to lure Americans into a jurisdiction that they naturally aren’t subject to.”
Weiss’ firm helps thousands of clients correct any misapplications of the term “U.S. Citizen,” especially in the field of federal income taxation. Americans are born outside the jurisdiction of the National Government but get ensnared into the Federal Income Tax by choice, whether or not they knew the full ramifications of that choice.
Weiss’ Revocation of Election process helps Americans leave the U.S. Tax Club they entered when they filed their first Form 1040 individual income tax return. Constitutional Americans generally filed their first Form 1040 based on social convention, as there is no law requiring it. Yet when they enter the Tax Club, the constitutional U.S. citizen is legally taxed like that of a U.S. Resident Alien and not from any lawful authority. The obligation begins and renews each year until membership is revoked by the member.
“The Federal Income Tax is a completely voluntary act (to those born in the Constitutional Republic), according to former IRS chief Dwight Avis,” Weiss explained. “The Federal Income Tax is completely legal, but to not violate the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery and involuntary indentured servitude, the U.S. Congress had to allow for an exit procedure. We have helped over 2,000 clients properly utilize this procedure and remove themselves from any Federal Income Tax liability.”
The key lies in jurisdiction and knowing the difference between the Constitutional Republic (50 states of the Union, i.e. the constitutional United States) and the Federal Zone (Washington D.C. and territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands — the statutory “United States”).