Don Kaufman

| Letters

Letter to phone company

From 1968 to the present time my wife and I have declined to pay the Federal excise tax on telephone service. Your company has almost always honored our dissent from this dubious tax which can be traced back to the War Tax Revenue Act of 1914. Recently, however, we have been getting circuitous explanations or no response at all. Until August of 2004 SBC has honored our tax refusal by adjusting the differences on each month’s statement. On Oct. 25th your employee, Derric, checked with a supervisor and then referred us to Tel. # 888-242-6583 which was “out of service”! On Nov. 5th we sent a copy of our open letter with payment to SBC. There has been no response whatsoever. So much for user friendly service which aims to “better serve your needs”. During a Nov. 27th telephone conversation with “Erin” we were told that the only way to deal with this problem was to contact the FCC.

There is something incongruous about the juxtaposition of monthly tax bills for war and Joyce Kilmer’s poem:

The Kings of the earth are men of might

And cities are burned for their delight

And the skies rain death in the silent night,

And the hills belch death all day!

But the King of Heaven who made them all

Is fair and gentle and very small;

He lies in the straw by the oxen’s stall—

Let them think of Him today!

My wife and I are not willing to volunteer our money to destroy the lives of others, either in this country or in other parts of the world. We prefer to live and let live. If necessary we choose to die rather than to murder someone. On Dec. 28th we are called to remember the massacre of innocents both in King Herod’s day and in ours. It is impossible for us to think of an acceptable way to kill human beings. Yet the Federal telephone tax is repeatedly asking us to finance murder. Our conscience forbids paying for war. We are motivated by the hope that citizens can be energized by love all year long. We invite you to support voluntary tax payments so that taxes will nurture and sustain life.

According to attorney Peter Goldberger’s interpretation of the excise tax regulations (26 CFR 49.4291-1), effective 11-12-1996, the phone company only has to report the resister to the IRS, and that satisfies their responsibilities. In other words, the company is to collect but they may not enforce. We firmly believe that such tax refusal is not unpatriotic. Assist us all to live responsibly in this beautiful but challenging world.

Thank you.
Donald D. Kaufman