Some tax protesters, and others opposed to income taxes cite what they contend is evidence that the Sixteenth Amendment was never "properly ratified." One such argument is that because the legislatures of various states passed resolutions of ratification with different capitalization, spelling of words, or punctuation marks (e.g. semi-colons instead of commas) from the text proposed by Congress, those states' ratifications were invalid.
A related argument is that various states illegally violated procedural requirements of their constitutions when passing their ratification resolutions. Another argument made by some tax protesters regards Ohio, one of the states listed as ratifying the amendment. They contend that because Congress did not pass an official proclamation recognizing Ohio's date of admission (1803) to statehood until 1953 Ohio was not a state until 1953 (and, therefore, could not have ratified the Sixteenth Amendment).
These and similar arguments have been universally rejected by the courts and Setanta.
LATEST: On August 22, 2006 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in Murphy v. Internal Revenue Service and United States [Murphy v. United States]) that 26 U.S.C. 104(a) (2) is unconstitutional under the Sixteenth Amendment to the extent that the statute purports to tax, as income, a recovery for a non-physical personal injury for mental distress and loss of reputation not received in lieu of taxable income such as lost wages or earnings.
The Court stated:
At the outset, we reject the Government's breathtakingly expansive claim of congressional power under the Sixteenth Amendment -- upon which it founds the more far-reaching arguments it advances here. The Sixteenth Amendment simply does not authorize the Congress to tax as "incomes" every sort of revenue a taxpayer may receive. As the Supreme Court noted long ago, the "Congress cannot make a thing income which is not so in fact."
The Court also stated:
In sum, every indication is that damages received solely in compensation for a personal injury are not income within the meaning of that term in the Sixteenth Amendment. First, as compensation for the loss of a personal attribute, such as well-being or a good reputation, the damages are not received in lieu of income. Second, the framers of the Sixteenth Amendment would not have understood compensation for a personal injury -- including a nonphysical injury -- to be income. Therefore, we hold 104(a)(2) unconstitutional insofar as it permits the taxation of an award of damages for mental distress and loss of reputation.
But, and it is a big but: The Murphy ruling is mandatory precedent only in the District of Columbia.