The Appeal of Dr. Tom Clayton

Dr. Clayton was indicted by a federal grand jury in Austin, Texas, and that indictment included charges that he willfully failed to file federal income tax returns. In response, Dr. Clayton filed a motion to dismiss those charges. The nature of that motion was that the “exemption amount”, which determines the minimum, threshold filing requirement for federal income tax returns, appears nowhere in the law and is calculated via use of the consumer price index (“CPI”). The only place where the filing requirement amount appears is in the Form 1040 instruction booklet. The district court denied this motion and that denial was an issue for Dr. Clayton’s appeal.

Several courts have rendered relevant decisions supportive of this issue. For example, in Senn Park Nursing Center v. Miller, 104 Ill.2d 169, 470 N.E.2d 1029 (1984), the Supreme Court of Illinois held that payments to nursing homes based upon an “inflation adjustment” (which is the CPI), were not valid as having been determined in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. In a very similar case, Alaniz v. Office of Personnel Management, 728 F.2d 1460 (Fed.Cir. 1984), that court also determined an issue involving use of the CPI to calculate pay for federal employees. See also Batterton v. Marshall, 648 F.2d 694 (D.C.Cir. 1980), and Hoctor v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 82 F.3d 165 (7th Cir. 1996).

Dr. Clayton’s opening brief in his appeal is posted here. The government’s brief is here, Clayton's reply is here and the decision of the court of appeals is here. Here is Clayton's petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, and here is the Solicitor's reply to our cert petition.  Please notice how the Solicitor argues whatever is necessary to uphold the erroneous decision of the 5th Circuit, particularly the groundless assertion that 26 USC 6012, which depends on the CPI, contains all information essential to inform the public about who is required to file a federal income tax return. If this be true, where is the minimum filing requirement amount for all years since 1990?