Divest from war and prisons!

Our Divest from War, Invest in People organizing guide and infographic refer to various divestment movements that our organizing builds on, including fossil fuel, South Africa, Israel, and private prisons. I think most war tax resisters are aware of the first three divestment movements. But you may not be aware of the private prison divestment movement and the general movement for alternatives to all incarceration. Today in the US, about 2.3 million people are incarcerated. The US has the highest rate of incarceration and the highest absolute number of people incarcerated of any country in the world. The prison system encompasses federal and state prisons, municipal jails, juvenile detention, and immigrant detention centers. (The euphemistic “detention centers” are still prisons.) […]

Lifting Up Dellinger and Antiwar Activists

Are you watching the big Ken Burns/Lynn Novick series The Vietnam War on PBS? My friends are talking about it, some are watching it, others, like me, not. I still find the horror of that war too painful to see the footage again. The waste on all levels remains painful and has carried through my life of working against war. In addition, the documentary apparently gives short shrift to the antiwar movement. I was skeptical when the New York Times review said, “The film’s center of moral gravity is ordinary soldiers, whose sacrifice and loyalty to one another are repeatedly contrasted with the political machinations of the powerful, on both sides.” Not the thousands in the streets who saw from […]

Resisting Nukes – Then and Now

August 6 and 9, 2017, mark the 72nd anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. War tax resistance spans the nuclear age, and many war tax resisters have been motivated by the horror of those bombings, by the frightening possibility that nuclear weapons will be used again, and by the human and financial costs of the whole process of producing those weapons. In the dangerous moment that we find ourselves today, one of the bravest pioneers of the modern war tax resistance movement, James Otsuka (1921-1984), comes to mind. As with other war tax resisters from the 1940s, he was a conscientious objector during World War II and refused to serve the military in any capacity. For that […]

More on IRS collection tactics

In a previous blog post, we reported the experience of one war tax resister that the IRS typically sends two letters before sending the Notice of Intent to Levy (see picture to the left for an example).  This year, however, a few resisters have reported getting only one letter before the Notice of Intent. One resister usually gets three letters before the Notice of Intent, and this year only got one. By sending fewer letters before the Notice of Intent, the IRS gives itself the opportunity to seize money from your bank accounts or wages sooner. But often, nothing happens regardless. If you have gotten fewer (or the same, or more) letters about your 2016 tax bill so far this […]

After Tax Day, the discussion continues

yard sign with Put People First printed on it; a hen in the grass behind the sign

This hasn’t been a typical year for war tax resistance by any stretch of the imagination, and that includes the atmosphere after Tax Day! Even after Tax Day this year, people are fired up about resistance, funding work for justice and peace, and building a better world. For example, Michael McCarthy wrote this week about the folly of making and selling weapons to ensure national security: This Pentecost season when we call on the Holy Spirit to renew our faith, let us resolve to take steps to stop giving Caesar our first fruits of federal income tax with which to make war, and convert these monies to God’s peacemaking purposes. For the practical measures, risks, responsibilities and spiritual benefits please […]

Tax Day marches, strikes, and resistance

The next five days will be filled with marches, rallies, and strikes against military spending and Trump’s secrecy around his tax returns. April 15 is the Tax March in Washington, DC and around the country, while April 18 is Tax Day. Equally important, many events will mourn lives lost in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and other war zones, and call for truly humanitarian aid and an end to armed conflict. War tax resisters are a key part of these effort. (Read NWTRCC’s Tax Day press release for more.) Here are just a few of the great events war tax resisters will be at over the next few days. If you don’t see your town listed, see Tax Day Actions for a […]

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

photo of Trump standing at a podium, shouting and pointing, with the words "We Won't Pay!" superimposed on his face

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 UPDATE: These webinars are over, but you can see recordings […]

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 […]