Bread or Bombs?

I needed bread and you sent a bomb

For better or worse, I start my day off listening to the NPR news and then listening/watching Democracy Now! Today’s big story was about the release of two pages of Trump’s taxes from 2005 — more all-Trump-all-the-time. Even his 12-year-old taxes get big notice. However, the reporter who received the leaked forms, David Cay Johnston, and attempted to break the story, is very well-informed on IRS issues and always worth reading or listening to. I say that even though I remember that one of our war tax resisters was on an interview show with him some years ago, and he spoke strongly against war tax resistance. I don’t know if he’s changed that tune, but he’s a smart guy anyway. […]

Pleading the Fifth to the IRS

In 1985, the IRS took war tax resister and NWTRCC staff member Larry Bassett to court. Bassett had refused to pay any income taxes since 1980, and had refused the federal excise tax on telephone service since the early 1970s. The IRS wanted to compel him to give up information about his financial accounts so the agency could collect his refused income taxes. The case began very quickly, with a January 21 Order to Show Cause, requiring Bassett to appear for a January 31 court date. He wrote to the judge on January 22, stating his intent to appear as ordered, and noting: “I am not opposing taxation; I have paid the self-employment tax to support the Social Security system…. […]

What to think about for tax resistance in 2017, 2018, and beyond

Lots of people are looking for the basics of tax resistance — whether against war and violence, the border wall, closing the door on refugees, racism, a mass deportation force, getting Trump to release his tax forms, the Trump agenda in general, having a president that many see as unqualified, or some new executive order we might hear about next week. Tax day is April 18, 2017, the last day to file 2016 taxes. Whether you owe or not, whether you are resisting or not, here are some considerations and ideas for those newly interested in tax resistance as a protest strategy: File on paper and mail in your form. It’s one way to slow the system. The IRS has […]

Upcoming Webinars on War Tax Resistance and Redirection

There has been renewed interest in war tax resistance following Trump’s inauguration. Something has clicked in the minds of thousands of people across the country… we don’t want to pay for Trump’s agenda! While many of the reasons people are fed up—extreme militarism, mass incarceration, police brutality, and mass deportations—are part of the foundation of our country, it is exciting to see many new people contacting NWTRCC and wanting to organize in their communities. We have a series of webinars coming up in the next few weeks to support this new wave of resisters. Join us online to learn more about war tax resistance and our redirection effort for this year! Webinars War Tax Resistance 101 with Erica Weiland, NWTRCC Social Media […]

Will I go to jail if I refuse to pay war taxes?

One of the top questions we get at NWTRCC is, “If I don’t pay the IRS, won’t I go to jail?” Our response: “People who are first considering war tax resistance often have the mistaken impression that people who refuse to pay their taxes from motives of conscience are at great risk of going to jail or having their homes taken away from them. In fact these risks are so rare that the list of war tax resistance cases since World War II is a short one. Here, for example is a list of war tax resisters taken to court or jailed for their resistance, and a list of property seizures and attempted property seizures against war tax resisters. The lists taken together […]

Tax resistance in the age of Trump

Over the past month, I’ve been ruminating on the possibilities of war tax resistance in a Trump presidency. At first I was concerned: for folks who are concerned about a diminishing tax base and slashed social services, the idea of further defunding the government might seem ill-timed, at best. However, many people who are not yet war tax resisters are very very motivated by the idea of resisting Trump and his administration’s policies and appointees. And war tax resisters certainly have a lot to question or to be concerned about when it comes to Trump’s foreign policy. Recently, Time magazine published an article from journalist Mark Weston, proposing that people who voted for Hillary Clinton should threaten a federal tax […]

Reasons to Celebrate

Somehow the IRS is attuned to vacations and holidays. They like to surprise you with their letters, bills and perhaps stronger demands just when you’re in a good mood or feeling relaxed. Like last week: I came back from vacation to a pile of 10 “Amount Due” letters from the IRS (not sure what our house sitter thought about that). There was one for each year still within the Statute of Limitations for collection. Since I file and refuse to pay, the IRS has 10 years to collect from the date of assessment, or about a month after you file (unless they dispute your return or don’t file; then assessment will come later). So I got a letter for each […]

Understanding common IRS collection letters

image of IRS letter with heading "You have unpaid taxes for 2015 - Amount due: $1,922.39"

Most war tax resisters who refuse federal income taxes will eventually (or quickly) get a letter from the IRS. Here I describe some of the most common letters one tax-return-filing resister has gotten over the past few years. Resisters who do not file tax returns may get letters more slowly or not at all, until or unless the IRS system determines that a return has not been filed and issues the appropriate paperwork. (Do you want to write about IRS letters you’ve gotten as a non-filer? Write us a blog post! E-mail wartaxresister at nwtrcc dot org.) And you personally may receive all, some, or none of these letters. For more about the collection process and how it affects war […]

Resisting in Dreamland

Home ownership might seem like a mundane topic while confronted with the latest news headlines, but most of us in war tax resistance see life choices as inextricably linked to global issues, so let’s see where this goes. I saw the movie The Big Short a while ago. I totally don’t understand what those guys where buying and selling or how you can make money off debt, but clearly it worked for some and didn’t for others. Mostly what it made me think about, and what the whole housing crisis of a few years ago made me think about, is this drive to want to own a home. It’s so linked to the American Dream that people don’t always think […]

Tax Day 2016 – photos, articles, interviews

Last year on tax day in New York City there was a long line of people outside the IRS waiting to get inside for forms or to have questions answered. This year there was no line at all. Does that mean the IRS was more efficient? Or was it because people didn’t really notice that the final day to file this year was April 18 (or the 19th in Maine and Massachusetts), so many people had things done by April 15? Whatever the reasons, we had a good group out with signs and banners and handed out lots of WRL pie charts: In Washington, DC, on April 15, some of us vigiled at IRS headquarters on Constitution Avenue before joining up […]

Infographic: Invest in People, Divest from War

Revised 1/5/2017 The full text of the infographic follows the image. You can also download a PDF. Invest in People, Divest from the Pentagon Redirect your taxes from war to peace! What is divestment? Divestment is the opposite of investment. Instead of putting money into something, hoping to get future benefits and security, you take the money out, hoping to get those benefits and security somewhere else. Divestment campaigns were integral to the international movement against South Africa’s apartheid system. Today divestment campaigns are widely used in movements: against Israel’s occupation of Palestine against private prisons for a transition from fossil fuels Divestment campaigns call for institutions to sell their investments in entities complicit in injustice. Some also ask individuals […]

How can I divest from the Pentagon?

Divest from the Pentagon, Invest in People - Redirect your taxes from war to peace! National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee - nwtrcc.org - (800) 269-7464

NWTRCC chose the theme “Divest from the Pentagon, Invest in People” for our 2016 Days of War Tax Action. Divestment (also called disinvestment) has been used to galvanize big changes, like abolishing apartheid in South Africa. Today, it’s used in the movements against fossil fuels and Israeli occupation of Palestine, where supporters pressure institutions and corporations to stop investing in certain governments, industries, or businesses. Divestment campaigns don’t always encourage individuals to see their own complicity in the target industry or behavior. While I don’t think we should only focus on changing ourselves, or trying to make ourselves “perfectly” ethical, we should understand if we are upholding the systems we oppose. And when we invest our taxes in war, that’s […]