Tariffs for War?

image of a container ship loaded up at sea

I feel fairly good about my twenty years of war tax resistance. At times you might even say I feel smug. With the purpose of promoting a more peaceful world, I have redirected those funds to various people, groups, and movements. But I have not been able to avoid financial support for war entirely. I have paid the federal excise tax on gasoline, airline tickets, alcohol, though I try to keep these purchases to a minimum. Starting on September 24, 2018, the US government will impose tariffs on numerous Chinese goods. As a recent Yahoo! article notes, “by Election Day in November, Trump will have placed new tariffs on $250 billion worth of stuff Americans buy every day.” Though the […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 2

Read Part 1 of Conscience and History: Beit Sahour Conscience, the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC) from 1980 to 1995, covered the Palestinian tax resistance multiple times. Part 1 addressed 1988-1989’s coverage. The next mention of Beit Sahour, a center of such resistance, occurred in “West Bank Town Under Siege for Tax Protest,” in Conscience‘s Winter 1990 issue (#36), by Les Welsh: “This summer, the village of Beit Sahour, a working class, mostly Christian town of 15,000, decided unanimously to withhold taxes from the regime occupying their homeland. For many of Beit Sahour’s 320 businesses, this was their first participation in the Uprising. “The Israeli government responded on September 22nd [1989] by declaring Beit Sahour a […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 1

a stone arch over a paved lane in Beit Sahour, with a stone building in the background

Welcome to the 2nd in the Conscience and History series! In each of these posts I’ll explore a little bit of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC)’s newsletter, Conscience, which was published from 1980 to 1994. The newsletter was continued as Nonviolent Action (1995-2007) by the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia (NACC), which ran the CMTC Escrow Account until it moved to St. Louis. (For more on the CMTC Escrow Account, which is now in the process of closing down and transferring its funds to other alternative funds, see this archived page.) When WTRs discuss historic international examples of war tax resistance or tax resistance in general, Beit Sahour (pronounced roughly “Bait Sah-HOR,” or listen to a pronunciation) is […]

Is the IRS Getting More Active?

a hand sliding a US passport into a pocket of a black bag

At NWTRCC gatherings, we always have cards on a back table so attendees can write notes of support to those who are facing garnishment or some other type of IRS action. At our last NWTRCC meeting in May, we mainly signed cards for those regular attendees that could not come due to ill health or difficulties traveling. Regarding IRS action, we only knew of folks having their social security payments garnished—mostly at 15%. The last couple years, when I’ve spoken to groups about war tax resistance, I’ve mentioned the relatively low risk of collection, although every case is different. Until earlier this year, I had been a wage employee since 2004 without a single garnishment. (I always remind groups that […]

Laugh, Cry, Carry On! Mining NWTRCC’s Archives

As Erica mentioned in her post last week, I’ve been clearing out old war tax resistance files and sorting those that will go to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.  Along with many other peace groups — War Resisters League, National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom — NWTRCC sends our newsletters, audio-visual materials, literature, and other organizing papers to the archive. The Peace Collection also saves our website periodically, so that online information will be available to researchers. Going through the files is quite a project, and you have to be very disciplined to press along and not read every note, every flyer, and every letter sent to the IRS or elected officials […]

Conscience and History: NWTRCC News in 1986

Recently, former NWTRCC coordinator Ruth Benn, as part of her ongoing effort to finally clear the NWTRCC archives out of her house, sent me a stack of old issues of Conscience. This was the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC), which promoted what was then called the World Peace Tax Fund and ran an escrow account for resisted war taxes. (More news to come about the closing of CMTC this year – its funds are being transferred to two other alternative funds.) Conscience began in 1980, before NWTRCC was founded in 1982, and lasted in one form or another through 2007. I have most of the issues between #22 and #52 in my possession, spanning 1986 through 2001. […]

Celebrating a Triumph over the IRS, with Redirection

Chanticleer

For the first time this year one of my outstanding tax debts hit the ten-year statute of limitations for collection. During those ten years, the IRS sent me increasingly exasperated letters, threatened me with thousands of dollars of interest & penalties, and even seized $469 from my bank account once. But this year the remaining $3,226 I owed slipped permanently out of their reach, and the interest & penalties evaporated too. I called their bluff, waited them out, and won (well, except for that $469). (Note: this statute of limitations does not apply to people who refuse to file returns, or if the IRS can show that you did not file honestly, correctly, and completely. It only applies if you file […]

Resisting Nukes: Then, Now and How Much Longer?

I am among the many war tax resisters who got into this form of resistance after becoming aware of the horror of nuclear weapons, the damage done by every step of the process to build them, and the incredible waste of trillions of dollars over seven decades. Surely the world would look very different if there was such a dedication to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and develop alternative energies (the non-nuclear ones). Thus with August 6-9 — Hiroshima and Nagasaki days — approaching I wanted to post a reminder to get out to a vigil or action during that time. Humans created weapons of mass destruction and we are responsible for getting rid of them. NWTRCC  has a […]

Raising Taxes to Stop War?

thumbnail image of 2019 pie chart - click to go to WRL website and download complete file

By Lincoln Rice I become a war tax resister because of my deep-seated belief that war is wrong and I cannot voluntarily participate in war with my body or resources. Therefore, I have spent the last twenty years refusing to pay my federal income taxes and have redirected those funds to more life-giving projects. A recent VOX article, “To Stop Endless Wars, Raise Taxes” by Sarah Kreps, provides a different method to resist war—raise taxes. In her article, Kreps asserts, “Contemporary wars are all put on the nation’s credit card, and that eliminates a critical accountability link between the populace and the conduct of war.” This does have a ring of truth to it. According to the federal budget pie chart, […]

This Is All Happening On Our Dime

I got a very striking email from the ACLU the other day. I don’t know that anyone in the ACLU is aware of what it sounds like they’re saying, which is stopping just short of calling for tax resistance against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): This is all happening on our dime. Congress will vote on a new budget very soon, and President Trump has requested 23+ billion of our taxpayer dollars for this morally corrupt agency – including resources to put tens of thousands of children and their parents in family prison camps. Call your senators and tell them we refuse to provide DHS with our taxpayer money while they continue to harm immigrant children and families. We […]

Certified Mail from the IRS

excerpt of an IRS letter with the heading "Notice of Intent to Levy - Amount due immediately: $1,955.87"

Over the past few weeks, several resisters in the NWTRCC network have reported getting unusually swift Notices of Intent to Levy by certified mail from the IRS. (A Notice of Intent to Levy is the last letter the IRS must send you before they can begin collection action, assuming you don’t dispute their tax assessment or pay up. For a quick guide to some other common IRS letters, see this blog post.) Ruth Benn reports getting a certified letter for the first time in years. (She had refused to sign for other certified letters in the past. As a result, for a while the IRS sent her Notices of Intent by regular first-class mail.) Larry Bassett reports: “I have come […]

Educating Catholic Workers about WTR

Catholic Worker logo in a woodcut black-and-white art style. Showing a cross behind Jesus in the center, with a light-skinned woman on the left holding a basket and carrying a baby on her back, and a dark-skinned man on the right holding a pickaxe.

by Lincoln Rice Every September for about forty years, there has been a Midwest Gathering of Catholic Workers near Preston, Iowa. Attendance ranges from 75 to 200, with representatives from around two dozen Catholic Worker communities. The weekend is a chance for autonomous Catholic Worker communities to share stories and hold roundtable discussions on topical issues and concerns. In the twenty years that I have regularly attended, there has never been a session on war tax resistance (WTR). Most Catholic Workers try to live simply and are anti-war, but do not intentionally practice WTR. Most are WTRers by default—by earning under the taxable limit. In recent conversations with younger (30 years and under) Catholic Workers about WTR, I realized there […]