Celebrating a Triumph over the IRS, with Redirection

For the first time this year one of my outstanding tax debts hit the ten-year statute of limitations for collection. During those ten years, the IRS sent me increasingly exasperated letters, threatened me with thousands of dollars of interest & penalties, and even seized $469 from my bank account once. But this year the remaining $3,226 I owed slipped permanently out of their reach, and the interest & penalties evaporated too.

I called their bluff, waited them out, and won (well, except for that $469).

(Note: this statute of limitations does not apply to people who refuse to file returns, or if the IRS can show that you did not file honestly, correctly, and completely. It only applies if you file but don’t pay.)

In 2011 the I.R.S. had 12,101 examination enforcement staff and 3,733 collection enforcement staff; the numbers have fallen each year, such that in 2015, the agency had 9,189 examination enforcement staff and 2,612 collection enforcement staff.

Fewer IRS staff means less collections.

I didn’t make things easy for the IRS. I followed some of the advice in NWTRCC’s Practical War Tax Resistance pamphlet #3 (“How to Resist Collection, or Make the Most of Collection When It Occurs”). But I didn’t go to extraordinary lengths to hide my assets or drop into the underground economy. I’m certain the IRS knows of some things they could seize. I guess they’ve just been too busy to get around to it.

I Joined the Redirectors

This is also the first year I’ve redirected my taxes. In the past I’d been afraid that if I redirected my taxes and then the government also seized them from me that I’d go broke by paying double. (At least, thanks to the War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund, I don’t have to worry about going broke from the interest and penalties!) But this year, because I got away with it for the most part, I can redirect the successfully resisted money without concern.

I sent my $3,226 to the Prisoners Literature Project, an all-volunteer group that sends free books to prisoners throughout the United States. My donation will pay for the postage on hundreds of packages, and for the purchase of dictionaries and other such high-demand books.

I made sure to let the Prisoners Literature Project know that the donation was coming from redirected taxes. And I informed our local war tax resisters’ alternative fund — the People’s Life Fund — about my donation so they can add it to their tally (they’ve already given away over $65,000 in resisted war taxes this year, joining several other such funds that coordinate war tax redirection).


And I Made Some Noise

I also took some time to crow on social media about what I’d done so that news of my triumph over the IRS might spread. I hoped my example might encourage more people I know to consider resistance, and so I looked the example of another war tax resister I respect who opted “to brag as lustily as Chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up.”

It’s been a joy to join the redirectors. I’ve long been envious of that path of war tax resistance, and I’m delighted to finally feel able to participate.

Post by David Gross

Here’s another example from our archives of a war tax resister beating the statute of limitations. It’s actually very common for the IRS to fail to pursue even the tax debts it knows about, even when there’s money on the table. There’s no guarantee you’ll be one of the lucky ones, but you won’t know until you try!

This post appears in the upcoming Aug/Sep 2018 NWTRCC newsletter. Check out back issues here!

2 thoughts on “Celebrating a Triumph over the IRS, with Redirection”

  1. LarryBassett says:

    Congratulations and commendations to David! I have made a personal decision not to wait for the expiration of 10 years to Redirect my taxes. The fact that I have given away a lot of money in the last three years means that it is not in any bank accounts or other places where the IRS can potentially seize it. At the moment my only significant assets are a six-year-old car and a condominium where I live. I would be sad if they seized either of those items but I would also make a lot of noise and I think the government would look bad for its action as it often does in these cases. I think the fact that there are so few of us WTR people that it makes it necessary for those of us who are able to make as much noise as possible! Part of my noise is a documentary about me made this past year titled The Pacifist. We hope the documentary will appear at a few film festivals but in the meantime there is an audible version of the documentary available currently on Spotify and hopefully soon on other online sound resources.

  2. Michael Hughes says:

    Great news and article David ! It was my partial 1st year, and I redirected what I didn’t send in (only $250 or so). I expect next year to be about $2000, and will have to also decide how much I ‘redirect’. Likely close to that amount, either way.

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