ALLENTOWN, Pa. – When Arthur Farnsworth decided in 1996 that his days of paying income taxes were over, April 15 became just another day on the calendar – “April Fools’ Day” as he and his friends came to call it.

Not this year.

The annual tax filing deadline is the day the 46-year-old Bucks County, Pa., man will be released from prison after a stay of more than two years following a much-publicized federal tax evasion conviction.

Talk about irony.

“Everyone is getting a kick out of that date,” Farnsworth said Friday during a brief phone call from the Federal Correctional Institution in Fairton, N.J., 50 miles southeast of Philadelphia. “But I don’t think there’s anything to it.”

Farnsworth said the release date, while seemingly symbolic, is coincidental. Prison officials, who originally scheduled a March release, delayed it twice because Farnsworth lost some good conduct time.

Angel Levi, a prison spokeswoman, said that when the release was calculated based on Farnsworth’s conduct, it just happened to fall on April 15.

Farnsworth, a former elected West Rockhill Township, Pa., auditor who unsuccessfully ran for Congress and Bucks County commissioner, was convicted in December 2006 of failing to pay an estimated $80,000 in federal tax from 1998 through 2000. He also operated a Web site critical of the United States tax system and offered tips on how to avoid paying federal income tax.

When asked if his position on paying income taxes – he does pay property and sales taxes – changed while he was in prison, Farnsworth asked rhetorically if tax law has changed.

“My response to that is that I’m going to pay all of the taxes I’m required to by law,” he said.

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