By Heather Snow, Durango, Colorado
When I was a young girl around the age of 10, I already understood what a corrupt world we lived in. I had a deep distrust for society and mostly government. I had a few jobs when I was 17, and decided not to pay my taxes as a statement against paying for war and supporting a government who didn’t really take care of its people. I became married at a young age and was unable to talk my husband into being a resister. As my life went by, and I had children and became divorced, I was determined to remain a War Tax Resister, though I didn’t have that name for it then. I saw myself only as a rebel. I didn’t talk to many people about it, keeping it a secret life.
As I was hired at various jobs, I simply ignored the IRS by not filing. I moved almost every 2 years, went to college, got a degree, and a profession as a massage therapist. This job allowed me to be self-supporting, and I continued to ignore the IRS. I never heard a word from them (1984-1995).
In 1995 I was hired as a masseuse at a Physical Therapist’s office. I grossed about $30,000. This time the IRS found me and fined me, but didn’t ask about all the missing years of filing. I contacted NWTRCC for advice and found the War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund (WTRPF). The fund helps people in my dilemma. I managed to pay the fines and WTRPF paid me back at a later date. I continued not filing, and not hearing a word from the IRS. I also wrote them a letter protesting about the Iraq war, and war in general, letting them know where I stood.
In 1996 I received an inheritance, which allowed me to become a house and land owner, if there is really such a thing. I couldn’t control that money or the taxes the bank automatically paid. I could get equity and mortgages without documentation. Nowadays, you could not do this.
Living with this secret became more difficult as the downturned economy was affecting my ability to build my business. I needed to get a “real” job. In 2007 I began to file, but didn’t have to pay. In 2008, I worked for a corporation caring for disabled people. It was a good job, but a terrible corporation. I enjoyed “benefits” and paid vacations. I saw how the other half lives! Then I had to file my taxes, and I owed quite a lot of money which I hadn’t saved for them! I managed to pay the state taxes and talked the IRS into a very low payment plan. Mostly, I am just paying penalties and interest which are very expensive. But still, they are getting very little out of me ($50.00 monthly). It literally pains me to have to pay them. My soul aches, and I have been very unhappy. I had decided that I would have to join the system or fear losing my house to the IRS.
In retrospect, I am happy I spent so many years not paying or supporting this illegal branch of government, although I think it made it harder for me to join the workforce. I usually chose jobs under the table, living on the fringes of society. I never went further than a B.A. in college, as I knew if I were to become a “professional” I would have to pay taxes.
The corporate job ended with them firing me for being too outspoken about things in the workplace that were simply wrong. If this is how corporations work, I never want to work for another one again. Now I am working under the table doing home health care. I will file this year, hoping I won’t owe anything, but will do my best to disappear again!
I wait to sell my house and go underground permanently. I do not believe in owning houses, either, for it is the bank who truly owns them. Land ownership is a game made up to support this terrible thing called The American Dream. It should be the American Slave Nightmare. Remember what George Carlin once said, “It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it!”
Power to the peaceful.