Wesley Montague

| Letters

April 15, 2002
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX 73301-0102

Re: 2001 individual tax return

CC: Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman; Representative Heather Wilson

To whom it may concern:

You will please find herewith my 2001 individual tax return. I affirm this to be a fully accurate statement of my income for the year in question, as well as taxes allegedly owed. While the IRS has the ability to independently verify my reported income, should the agency require further disclosure, I will cooperate to the extent I am required by law and physically able.

As a conscientious objector to war, I am compelled to withdraw my financial support from the federal government for the present time. It has come to my attention that over half of the tax assessed on my income will, directly or indirectly, go toward enlarging and maintaining the largest military establishment in the world, in addition to numerous smaller, foreign militaries. Morally and ethically, I cannot condone such a tragic perversion of the nation’s priorities, nor can I underwrite the massive industry that profits from it. If, at a future date, it is demonstrated that the government has corrected the imbalance, reducing military expenditures to a realistic level (no greater than 10% of total spending, including interest payments), I will at that time consent to paying the tax.

Alternatively, with the passage of legislation such as the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act (H.R. 1186), it thereby becoming possible for Americans conscientiously opposed to war to participate in the tax system, I will at that time consent to paying the tax.

Until that time, I shall redirect the entire tax to charity. An amount equal to the military expenditure, as a percentage of total government outlay, shall be donated to organizations fostering global peace. The remaining amount will be donated to local organizations providing social services to the disadvantaged. Complete and accurate records of donations, including letters of acceptance from the recipient organizations, will be kept on file should this agency wish to review them.

I have further concluded to withhold my self-employment tax, as it is impossible to distinguish payment of it from the income tax. The best information available to me suggests that, rather than being placed in trust for my future security, it will likely go to fund the government’s deficit spending, a large portion of which results from the inflated military budget. It should be noted that this money is not technically “revenue” and therefore the authority of this agency to collect it is questionable. If I could pay the self-employment tax separately from the income tax, and directly to the Social Security Administration, I would consider doing so voluntarily—provided with some assurance that my money will not be mismanaged or appropriated for uses I do not authorize.

I am well aware that by taking this action I am in violation of U.S. statute, and expose myself to civil and/or criminal prosecution. While the risks are by no means insignificant, the convictions I hold are stronger than the government’s power of coercion. It deeply grieves me that, in taking what I see as the only morally defensible stance on this issue, I must break the law. No personal risk, however, will sway me from doing what is right. No sacrifice for truth, for the honor and dignity of oneself and ones country, is too great. This is the highest service a citizen can hope to perform.

Please note that the address provided is not my home address, as I cannot receive mail at that location (and am presently in the process of moving). Correspondence directed to this address should reach me within two to three weeks. I will make an effort to respond in a timely manner to all inquiries from this agency.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause the Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, or individuals in their employ. I have no grievance with your offices, and understand they are entrusted with important responsibilities. It is, indeed, your job to assess and collect any and all taxes levied by Congress. I deeply regret that I must interfere with your valuable work.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Albuquerque, New Mexico