Organizations Supporting War Tax Resisters

We recently updated the text version of our Practical War Tax Resistance #6 pamphlet, Organizational War Tax Resistance, and will update the print version sometime in the future. In this pamphlet, we feature stories about businesses and nonprofits that support their employees and independent contractors in war tax resistance, and get into the details of organizational approaches to WTR.

One of our affiliates, the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, has a webpage with war tax resistance statements from its board members David Bassett, H.A. Penner, and Richard N. Woodard. David Bassett writes,

“I am willing to pay the full amount of my federal taxes, if the government would provide that my tax payments will be used only for non-military purposes. My strong preference is to adhere to the nation’s laws, so long as these do not cause me to act against my conscience. Since this is not at present possible, I and my wife began (in 1970), along with others in our community, (and now with others in this nation, and internationally), efforts to change the federal tax laws, to recognize the principle of conscientious objection to military taxation (COMT), thus extending the already-recognized principle of conscientious objection to military service (COMS).”

And our affiliate Center on Conscience & War has a webpage with organizational war tax resistance statements, mostly from churches and religiously affiliated organizations.

Watch our 30-minute documentary, Death and Taxes, for more stories about how people integrate their personal convictions with their work lives. In particular, starting at 12:40, Ruthy Woodring talks about working as an independent contractor for Pedal People.

And if you’ve written a letter to your employer, client, church, or other organization expressing your war tax resistance views, and wouldn’t mind having an excerpt of it shared in our upcoming Tax Day video, check out this call for submissions (now due by Feb 10).

Post by Erica

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Individual Choices and Movement Building: Shall the Twain Meet?

War tax resisters do not tend toward weeping over the latest news that the IRS budget is declining, that it is short staffed and has lots more work to do thanks to the Affordable Care Act. As a resister with ten years of tax debt myself, I’m not in a big rush for them to get more active on my case. But there are days when I think that my life is too comfortable and too easy; should I be doing something to push the envelope more, to get in more trouble and bring more attention to war tax resistance?

I was just talking to a longtime war tax resister (WTR) who noted that she had not been bothered much by the IRS, but she had quit jobs to stop levies, never owned a house, and never established a career because she knew her salary would be garnished if she chose career employment over keeping her money from war. She’s had to accommodate her refusal to pay for war in ways that many people do not understand.

Now she’s about to take Social Security, earned through various jobs during her working years. She had questions about the potential levy on her benefits (through the Federal Payment Levy Program; usually an automatic 15% of the payment before it’s transferred to you) and choosing between direct deposit (she’s never had a bank account in her name) and the debit card option — Social Security has gone paperless.

However, one WTR counselor she spoke with questioned her choice: why take the government’s money and involve yourself in the system at all? This question comes up regularly in our circles in serious, searching discussions about cooperation with a system we abhor in so many ways. Social Security staff say “it’s your money, set aside for you, why wouldn’t you take it?” The fact that the government borrows from the trust fund for purposes including the Pentagon may be an equally good reason to get your money out of the government coffers.

Graphic by Len Munnik.
Graphic by Len Munnik.

Generally, it’s best not to judge other people’s financial choices unless you know a great deal about their situation, but it is example of why war tax resistance organizing gets messy. We’ve had many fits and starts with a variety of campaigns and calls for unity — resist a small amount, file, don’t file, ignore them, stay out of the system, write them every day… As organizers we say it’s like herding cats ( ok, I couldn’t help that link; pretend that WTRs produced it). The individual choices are so varied and dependent on individual circumstances that it’s hard to develop a unified campaign.

Personally, I feel pretty clear about my war tax resistance choices. As an organizer who wants to see the military budget slashed and the war machine dismantled, I feel less clear how to get there and how to strengthen the role of WTR along that path.

Today we are seeing widespread use of nonviolent direct action — in response to police killings, to bad immigration policy, to state government policies that hurt workers and the poor, to oppressive governments everywhere. I’m encouraged that activists in Hong Kong have found and been inspired by resources about war tax resistance in the U.S. Should we be doing more to grab onto the energy for change that is building in the U.S. and abroad? Ideas welcome!

—Post by Ruth Benn

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Dear IRS, Dear Congress, Dear Military-Industrial Complex – Call for Submissions

Do you:

  • Write to the IRS about war tax resistance?
  • Send letters to your congressperson?
  • Enclose a letter when you redirect resisted war taxes, explaining where the money comes from?
  • Write to any other entities or people about war tax resistance near Tax Day?
  • Want to start writing letters about war tax resistance now?

will you pay taxes for war rectangleI’m creating a 1-2 minute Tax Day video, containing messages from war tax resisters directed to the IRS, Congress, the president, the military-industrial complex, your family, your local newspaper, or any other entity or individual. NWTRCC has a terrific directory of letters to the IRS, but I would like to have this video feature letters we don’t already have on the website.

You can submit your new or old letters in any of the following ways:

  • Text: send me the text of your letter or a general statement about why you refuse to pay war taxes, in the form of a hypothetical letter to anyone. I may use the text as text in the video, or in the social media campaign, or have someone record themselves reading your letter.
  • Audio: record yourself reading your text and send me a .wav or .mp3 file (please use the highest file quality and best microphone you can, I may not be able to use contributions with low audio quality or a lot of background noise)
  • Still visual: take a picture of yourself with a sign showing a statement about how/why you resist war taxes! Include #DearIRS, #DearCongress, or other hashtags for extra Twitter appeal (if that’s relevant to you). You can also tweet visuals to @wartaxresister.
  • Video: Unless you have a really high quality webcam or digital video recorder, I may not be able to use user-submitted videos in the Tax Day video. But if you want to submit a video of you reading your statement, that’s welcome! I can still share it on social media separately.

"I support NWTRCC because direct action is for every day"Paste text submissions in the comments, or submit anything via e-mail to wartaxresister -AT- nwtrcc -DOT- org, no later than January 31 February 10, 2015. By submitting you’re giving NWTRCC permission to reuse your submission in a video, in a social media post, on a podcast, or on our website (but we may not use all submissions). If you prefer to be anonymous, let me know, otherwise I will use the name given.

Help get the word out about war tax resistance and NWTRCC in 2015 – send in your letter!

Post by Erica

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