Famous Tax Quotes includes quotations from court opinions with language that is colorful or that concisely states an important tax principle. Readers are encouraged to send suggestions for upcoming Famous Tax Quotes.
Continuing our series on Famous Tax Quotes, today's Famous Tax Quote is:
"[T]he words of such an act as the Income Tax, for example, merely dance before my eyes in a meaningless procession: cross-reference to cross-reference, exception upon exception-couched in abstract terms that offer no handle to seize hold of-leave in my mind only a confused sense of some vitally important, but successfully concealed, purport, which it is my duty to extract, but which is within my power, if at all, only after the most inordinate expenditure of time. I know that these monsters are the result of fabulous industry and ingenuity, plugging up this hole and casting out that net, against all possible evasion; yet at times I cannot help recalling a saying of William James about certain passages of Hegel: that they were no doubt written with a passion of rationality; but that one cannot help wondering whether to the reader they have any significance save that the words are strung together with syntactical correctness. Much of the law is now as difficult to fathom, and more and more of it is likely to be so; for there is little doubt that we are entering a period of increasingly detailed regulation, and it will be the duty of judges to thread the path-for path there is-through these fantastic labyrinths."
Learned Hand, Eulogy of Thomas Walter Swan, 57 Yale L. J. 167, 169 (1947), quoted in Welder v. United States, 329 F. Supp. at 741-42 (S. D. Tex. 1971).