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Update: In the spring of 1997, Marina Oswald provided limited consent to the IRS to release Lee Harvey Oswald's tax returns to researchers Ray and Mary La Fontaine. Marina Oswald declared her intent to have the La Fontaines release these returns to the public, but to our knowledge they have not done so. Absent Marina Oswald's consent, the IRS is legally obligated under Section 6103 to withhold the Oswald tax returns from public disclosure.


Los Angeles - (L.I.N.E.) JFK Lancer, a historical research organization, calls for the immediate amendment of Section 6103 of IRS Code to allow for release of tax information designated as assassination records by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) and placed in the JFK Collection at the National Archives by the IRS.

When the JFK Act was under consideration the IRS itself asked the Congress to amend Section 6103 of the IRS Code to allow for the release of tax information of interest to previous assassination investigations, such as the tax records of the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Section 6103 is a federal law that prohibits federal government agencies that possess tax return information from disclosing that information. Congress refused to allow this.

Section 11 (a) of the JFK Act reads in part, "When this Act requires transmission of a record to the Archivist or public disclosure, it shall take precedence over any other law (except Section 6103 of the IRS Code)."

Congress' decision to withhold all tax information in assassination records from the public --- even in specific assassination records where the Board could have ruled on the context and relevance of the information, vs. the need to protect privacy, on a case-by-case basis --- was contrary to the spirit and purpose of the JFK Act, which was to restore faith in government institutions through sweeping releases of previously withheld information.

Oswald's tax information relating to his employment history, earnings, and taxes paid were not released. Thus, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), an independent agency within the executive branch of government, specifically created to release assassination records, was powerless to release this information, whereas they did release assassination related information from the CIA, FBI, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense, and U.S. Army, and even the National Security Agency, as well as many other agencies.

The ARRB, to its credit, recommended in its final report that Section 6103 of the IRS code be amended so that these records could be released. While the JFK Act prohibited release it did allow the ARRB to confidentially inspect any and all tax records that might pertain to the assassination.

lhoThese tax records would answer questions about Lee Harvey Oswald's employment history that arise from him appearing to be in two places at the same time. While Oswald was a Marine in Japan, many still-living individuals claim he was working in New Orleans for Pfisterer Dental Lab Co., The Dolly Shoe Company, and an import/export firm, Gerald F. Tujague. He could not be at both places at the same time. They would also answer questions as to his earnings, specifically while a Marine and how he could possibly afford to travel on his own money to Russia to "defect." They may also answer lingering questions as to whether Oswald was an employee of an American intelligence agency.

The IRS created record identification forms (RIFs) to indicate that the information can be released if and when Section 6103 of the IRS Code is amended by Congress. All of the records containing tax information designated as assassination records by the Review Board were "RIFed" by the IRS, and dutifully placed in the JFK Collection by the IRS.

These records include both tax returns from the IRS's own files, and earnings and employment information from the files of the Social Security Administration. They include records on Lee Harvey Oswald, Marina Oswald, Jack Ruby, George Sergei deMohrenschieldt, William Guy Bannister, David William Ferrie, Orest Pena, Carlos Bringuier, Carlos Quiroga, Sergio Arcacha-Smith, Antonio Vecciana, William George Gaudet, Albert Alexander Osborne (a.k.a John Howard Bowen), Palmer Edward McBride, and John Thomas Masen, as well as some groups like The Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Directorio Revolutionario Estudiantil (commonly known as the DRE), Operation Alpha-66, Segundo Frente Nacional de Escambray, Junta Revoluncionaria Cubana (commonly known as the "JURE"), Cuban Revolutionary Council (known as the "CRC"), Frente Revolucionario Democratico (known as the "FRE"), and Comandos-L, all of which are directly related to the history of the assassination.

The IRS stated they have no objection to the release of these records, the ARRB wanted these records released, and the American public wants them released. They currently sit in National Archives II awaiting disclosure. It will take a special act of Congress to amend the IRS code to allow their disclosure.



Fri, 11 Dec 1998

I endorse the proposal to amend Section 6103 of the IRS Code to permit release of tax information pertinent of the study of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is clear from my own researches that the tax records of Lee Harvey Oswald and of his mother are extremely pertinent to a proper understanding of this important event in American history. The same is true of other groups, such as the Cuban exile Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE), who involved themselves with Oswald before his death.

Yours sincerely

Peter Dale Scott
Professor Emeritus of English, University of California, Berkeley, CA

bulletPlease contact your Representatives and Senator(s) to request they support the release of Oswald's tax information, as well as the tax records of other individuals and groups described by the Assassination Records Review Board as being related to the assassination, by calling for the amendment of Section 6103 of the IRS Code to release assassination records that contain tax information.

bluebulRead a summary of the ARRB memo by Doug Horne on the Oswald Tax Records

bluebulInformation on Tax Code 6103



Chapter 8,

7. Department of the Treasury

The Review Board worked with various components of the Department of Treasury, including Main Treasury (i.e., the Office of the Secretary), Secret Service (discussed above), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Customs Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF).

d. Internal Revenue Service.

The identification and release of assassination-related records in IRS's custody has been difficult because Section 11(a) of the JFK Act explicitly provides that tax-related records continue to be exempt from public disclosure under Section 6103 of the IRS Code. The Review Board believes that significant assassination-related records of the IRS were precluded from release under the JFK Act. Most significantly, the JFK Act failed to secure IRS's public release of the original Lee Harvey Oswald tax returns and significant tax-related material in the files of the Warren Commission.5

Notwithstanding Section 6103, the Review Board requested that the IRS collect and identify all records it had relating to the assassination. In 1994, IRS reported that it had identified, pursuant to the JFK Act, approximately fifty documents. These documents apparently related to a tax proceeding involving Jack Ruby's estate. At the time, no further work was undertaken by IRS to release these documents or to identify any other records under the JFK Act.

In late 1996, the Review Board sought to clarify what IRS did to locate additional records relating to the assassination and what it intended to release in light of Section 6103. In addition, the Review Board sought to inspect assassination records that were, or would be, collected by IRS, including original tax returns of Lee Harvey Oswald, and records relating to IRS work with the Warren Commission. The Review Board also sought to ascertain the status and anticipated treatment of such records by IRS under the JFK Act.

While IRS considered such records under Section 6103 exempt from release, the Review Board asserted its legal authority, under the JFK Act, to confidentially inspect IRS assassination records. However, the assassination records collected by the IRS were not made available for the Review Board's inspection. Only a year later did IRS affirm the Review Board's legal authority to inspect IRS assassination records.

In 1998, the Review Board requested that IRS formally document its actions and compliance under the JFK Act. The Review Board requested that the IRS search for records that might relate to the assassination and that the IRS specifically identify any such records that it believed could not be released under Section 6103. The Review Board also requested that IRS review the tax-related records in the Warren Commission and HSCA holdings to determine which records could be released consistent with Section 6103.


Endnote: 5 In the spring of 1997, Marina Oswald provided limited consent to the IRS to release Lee Harvey Oswald's tax returns to researchers Ray and Mary La Fontaine. Marina Oswald declared her intent to have the La Fontaines release these returns to the public, but to our knowledge they have not done so. Absent Marina Oswald's consent, the IRS is legally obligated under Section 6103 to withhold the Oswald tax returns from public disclosure.

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At the request of the Review Board, the IRS intends to forward to the JFK Collection all tax-related assassination records identified by IRS, including those records to remain confidential pursuant to Section 6103. The records covered by Section 6103, although transmitted to the JFK Collection, will not be released pending any later determination as to their status under the IRS code.

The Review Board has received draft compliance statements from the Internal Revenue Service but has not received the IRS's Final Declaration of Compliance.

20. Social Security Administration

In response to a directive in 1993 by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) regarding compliance with the JFK Act, the Social Security Administration (SSA) inventoried its holdings relating to Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. SSA sequestered the records at the Review Board's request. These same SSA records were later acquired by IRS and IRS deposited them in the JFK Collection, but Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code prevents disclosure of tax return records.

In early 1997, the Review Board staff met with SSA to verify what assassination-related records SSA might have and to determine if any such records could be publicly released. The Review Board requested that SSA assemble all earnings-related records for Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, quarterly reports filed by Oswald's employers (to verify Oswald's employment history and income), and the original file opened for Marina Oswald's claim for survivor benefits following Lee Harvey Oswald's death.

The SSA was extremely diligent in collecting and assembling these records. The SSA protected some of these records under Section 6103, but the balance were transmitted to the JFK Collection. SSA placed its assassination records that contain information protected by Section 6103 in the JFK collection where they will be kept confidential by NARA. The SSA confirmed that these records are being preserved.

As with Oswald's tax returns, the Review Board regrets that Oswald's earnings information and employment history, as contained in employer reports on file with SSA, have not been released to the public as of the date of this Report.

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The Review Board's mandate was not to investigate once again the assassination, but to release as many of these heavily restricted documents as possible. Lawmakers commented that the efforts of the Review Board "will stand as a symbol and barometer of public confidence in the review and release of the government records related to the assassination of President Kennedy....Several provisions of [the JFK Act] are intended to provide as much independence and accountability as is possible within our Constitutional framework."

Restoring public confidence in government is a difficult task under any circumstances. The Review Board took this responsibility seriously, however, and set out in April 1994 to create the most complete record possible of the documentary evidence of the assassination so that in the end the American public could draw its own conclusions as to what happened and why on that fateful day in Dallas in November 1963.Additional information on Lee Oswald and the ARRBspacer


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