War Tax Resisters Taken to Court

In the modern war tax resistance movement (since World War II), very few people have been brought into Federal court, convicted, or jailed because of their war tax resistance. In fact, only two war tax resisters — James Otsuka (1949) and J. Tony Serra (2005) — were ever jailed for not paying taxes. Most resisters have been taken to court on related charges, such as failure to file, “falsifying” 1040 forms, contempt of court (by refusing to produce records), or (in the early 1970s) for “fraudulently” claiming too many dependents on their W-4 form.

[Click to see a list of IRS property seizures against war tax resisters]

The shortest column represents one person and the tallest is seven people who were taken to court for war tax resistance related cases. The year represents the indictment or initial court appearance. (Data as of October 2015.)

1940-1980-wtr-court
1980-2015-wtr-court
Year     Resister City, State
Charge Sentence Time Served
Notes

 

1942     Ernest Bromley Bath, NC
tax evasion 2 mo. 2 mo.
refusal to pay $7.09 car defense tax stamp
1949     James Otsuka Richmond, IN
contempt and tax refusal 3 mo. + $100 4.5 mo.
refusal to turn over records or pay $4.50 income tax; released 1/16/1950
1958     Maurice McCrackin Cincinnati, OH
refused summons to produce records for IRS 6 mo. +$250 6 mo.
noncooperated with court; jailed (12/58) and released (5/59); conviction overturned
 1959     Juanita Nelson
Philadelphia, PA
refused summons to produce records  — 1 day
arrested, taken to court (6/16/59); charges eventually dropped
1960     Eroseanna Robinson Chicago, IL
contempt for refusing summons to produce records  12 mo. 3 mo.
noncooperated with court; jailed in Alderson, WV; hunger strike; released 3/1
1960     Walter Gormly Mt. Vernon, IA
contempt 7 days 7 days
order to show cause for refusal to produce records for IRS
1963     Arthur Evans Denver, CO
contempt for refusal to produce records 3 mo. 3 mo.
Jefferson County Jail (8/12/63)
1968     Neil Haworth Haddam, CT
contempt for refusal to produce records  2 mo. 2 mo.
cited First Amend.; Middlesex State Jail
1970    Jim Shea Vienna, VA
false/fraudulent W-4 and bail-jumping 12 mo. mo.
after 1970 conviction, jumped bail, then surrendered in 1974
1970     Sally Buckley St. Paul, MN
false/fraudulent W-4 1 mo.
convicted (11/16) but her tax ($217) anonymously paid by friend
1970     Jack Malinowski Philadelphia, PA
false/fraudulent W-4
indicted (1970), convicted (1971), sentenced (1972) to 3 mo. probation
1970     Dennis Richter Minneapolis, MN
 false/fraudulent W-4 ? ?
indicted Sept. 1970 for declaring 40 million dependents [disposition unknown]
1970     Donald Callahan Philadelphia, PA
false/fraudulent W-4  —
indicted (12/16/70); charges dropped (1972?); deal could have been made
1970     James Smith Springfield, MO
false/fraudulent W-4 $50
arraigned (1970), convicted & sentenced (1971) to $50 fine
1971     Karl Meyer Chicago, IL
false/fraudulent W-4  24 mo. 9 mo.
indicted, pled nolo, sentenced (5/21), jailed in Sandstone, MN; released 2/16/72
1971     Bill Himmelbauer Chicago, IL
false/fraudulent W-4  12 mo. 6 mo.
indicted, pled nolo, sentence (6/22); Sandstone, MN
1971     Mike Fowler Chicago, IL
false/fraudulent W-4  1 mo. 1 mo.
indicted (4/15), pled guilty, sentenced by Julius Hoffman
1971     Ellis Rece Augusta, GA
false/fraudulent W-4  12 mo. + $5,000 mo. + $5,000
indicted (Oct. 71) for claiming 53 dependents; guilty (5/22/72); sentenced (5/26/72)
1971     Henry Braun Philadelphia, PA
false/fraudulent W-4  3 mo. + $500  —
arraigned (1971), convicted (1972), sentenced (5/15/73)
1971     Roy Schenk Madison, WI
 false/fraudulent W-4  —
pled nolo, found guilty (11/71) to falsifying W-4; disposition unknown
1971     Mark T. Riley Sacramento, CA
false/fraudulent W-4  6 mo. + $500 5 mo.
indicted (1971); sentenced (1972) prison
1972     Carole Nelson Minneapolis, MN
refusing to produce records 10 days 10 days
order to show cause (5/2)
1972     Lyle Snider Greensboro, NC
false/fraudulent W-4; contempt for refusing to stand 9 mo.
3 billion dependents claimed on W-4; arrested (1972), convicted (1973); all reversed on appeal (1974)
1972     Ron Mitchell Madison, WI
false/fraudulent W-4 ? ?
indicted for inflating W-4 but disposition unknown
1973     John Leininger Rochester, NY
false/fraudulent W-4 1 hour! 2 mo.
arrested (1973); sentenced (1974) to 1 hr. but spent 2 mo. noncooperating
1973     Martha Tranquilli Clarksdale, MS
tax fraud (Form 1040 dependents) 9 mo. mo.
claimed 6 peace organizations as dependents
1973     Neil Haworth New York, NY
order to show cause 9/4/73
appeared before IRS 12/19/73 and refused to answer based on 5th Amendment
1974     J. Tony Serra
failure to file 4 mo. 4 mo.
SF attorney defends self and is acquitted on 2 of 3 charges
1975      Robin Harper Philadelphia, PA
order to show cause
won with Fifth Amendment
1975     Margaret Haworth New York, NY
order to show cause
won with Fifth Amendment
1977     Richard Catlett Kansas City, MO
failure to file 2 mo. 2 mo.
10 mo. susp., plus 3 years prob.; indicted 1977, sent. 6/14/78, jailed 1/5–3/5/79
1978     Bob Anthony Philadelphia, PA
order to show cause
judge sat on case until 1982 then ruled against Anthony
1979     Bruce Chrisman Carbondale, IL
failure to file 12 mo.
sentenced to a year voluntary service and 3 yrs probation
1980     Paul Monsky Cambridge, MA
 false/fraudulent W-4
sentenced to a year probation
1981     Kenneth Pichler Eau Claire, WI
order to show cause 19 days
contempt; jailed & released after 19 days when agreed to turn over records
1982     Kathryn Kohrman Brattleboro, VT
order to show cause; contempt $300
cited Nuremburg; ruled in contempt (7/22); turned over records (7/27)
1982    Robin Harper Wallingford, PA
order to show cause
Justice Dept. withdrew subpoena to produce records before trial
1983     Leo Volpe Mays Landing, NJ
failure to file 4 mo. 4 mo.
Restored Israel of Yahweh, small Bible-study community in NJ that preaches pacifism
1985     Larry Bassett Patchogue, NY
order to show cause
won with Fifth Amendment
1986     J. Tony Serra San Francisco, CA
willfully filing late 12 mo.
1 year suspended, 5 years probation
1987     Dale Macurdy Somerville, MA
order to show cause
cited Fifth Amendment; IRS withdrew Order
1989     Max Rice Comer, GA
order to show cause 2 mo. 40 days
contempt for not turning over records; used First Amendment
1989     Don Mosley Comer, GA
order to show cause 2 mo. 40 days
contempt for not turning over records; used First Amendment
1989     Bobby Hieger New York, NY
order to show cause
IRS withdrew Order after Hieger cited Fifth Amendment
1990     Allen Moss Baltimore, MD
order to show cause
won with Fifth Amendment
1991     Randy Kehler Colrain, MA
contempt 6 mo. mo.
Nuremburg; contempt for refusing not to return to his and Betsy Corner’s seized house
1993     Bill Ramsey St. Louis, MO
violating terms of probation 1 mo. 1 mo.
ordered to pay taxes after convicted for leafleting inside IRS; jailed (8/24)
1997     Jan Passion VT
order to show cause
IRS withdrew Order after determining case uncollectible
1999     Ed Hedemann Brooklyn, NY
order to show cause
judge accepted 5th Amend. in refusal to turn over papers to IRS (3/5/99)
2004     Inge Donato Mays Landing, NJ
failing to withhold and pay taxes for employees 6 mo. 6 mo.
Restored Israel of Yahweh, small Bible-study community in NJ that preaches pacifism; convicted (2004), jailed (2005), released (2006)
2004     Kevin McKee Mays Landing, NJ
attempted evasion of employment taxes and failure to file 24 mo. 24 mo.
Restored Israel of Yahweh, small Bible-study community in NJ that preaches pacifism; convicted (2004), jailed (2006), released (2008)
2004     Joe Donato Mays Landing, NJ
attempted evasion of employment taxes and failure to file 27 mo. 27 mo.
Restored Israel of Yahweh, small Bible-study community in NJ that preaches pacifism; convicted (2004), jailed (2006), released (2008)
2005     J. Tony Serra San Francisco, CA
willful failure to pay $44,000 in taxes for 1998 & 1999 10 mo. 9 mo.
convicted (2005), jailed (2006), released (2007), plus one month in a halfway house
2010     Frank Donnelly Lamoine, ME
tax fraud, falsifing and lying on his returns 12 mo. 4½ mo.
Underreported income 2002–2004; ordered to pay $3,000 fine & $90,000 in back taxes; released 12/15/10 to halfway house; released June 2011
2010     Carlos Steward Asheville, NC
filing false tax returns and failure to file 24 mo. 16 mo.
pleaded guilty Feb. 2010; sentenced 6/30/10; imprisoned 8/7/10; released to halfway house 12/1/11 until Spring 2012
2012     Cindy Sheehan Vacaville, CA
order to show cause
cites 1st & 5th Amend. in District court refusal to respond to IRS (4/19/12); Sheehan line-by-line refusal in IRS office (5/9/12)
 2013     Joseph Olejak  Delmar, NY
willful failure to file 26 wkends.  26 wkends.
Resister since 1994, sentenced (10/17/13) in Federal District Court to 26 weekends in jail, $240K back taxes, and community service

“Order to Show Cause” — If unsuccessful in finding sufficient assets of a resister, the IRS’s last resort is to convince a U.S. Attorney to issue an Order to Show Cause. This Order asks a U.S. District Court judge why a refuser should not be held in contempt for not giving the IRS the financial information it seeks. The Order often requires the resister to make a written response and appear in court. If the judge does not dismiss the Order and the resister does not provide the required financial information, the resister could be held in civil contempt of court and jailed. Resisters argued their opposition to paying for war and the military based on moral, religious, or political grounds, or on international law; in addition some pled the Fifth or First Amendment.

SOURCES: The Peacemaker, Peacemakers, 1949–1992; Handbook on the Nonpayment of War Taxes, Peacemakers, 1983; Tax Talk, National War Tax Resistance, 1969–1975; Center Peace, Center on Law & Pacifism, 1981–1985; Conscience, Conscience and Military Tax Campaign, 1982–1994; Network News, 1984–1994, NWTRCC; More Than a Paycheck, 1994 to present, NWTRCC