Letter to the IRS: Chris Moore-Backman

| Letters

April 15, 2022
To Whom It May Concern at the Internal Revenue Service:

Please find my enclosed 1040 form for tax year 2021. I’m including this letter in order to explain why payment for my calculated 2021 tax of $1970.00 is not also enclosed. 

Since 2000, I have refused payment of my taxes because US law does not provide a means for me to ensure that my tax contribution will not enrich our nation’s military-industrial complex, prison-industrial complex, immoral immigration system, or our government’s treacherous compact with oil corporations, which continue to wage an unfettered—and ultimately suicidal—assault on the natural world. Because the tax system provides no legal way for me to avoid supporting these things, I find no conscientious choice but to withhold payment entirely as an act of civil disobedience.

Conscientious objection to the payment of taxes and the redistribution of such funds to humane alternatives represents a longstanding nonviolence tradition. Tax resisters choose different methods. For example, some—like myself—file tax forms while withholding payment, some don’t file at all, and some live below the taxable income level. Some are content with resisting quietly as a personal practice, while others resist in a public way to raise awareness about our government’s misuse of tax income and to outwardly demonstrate the moral power of civil disobedience. 

I am not opposed to taxation in principle. I know that tax dollars fund many things that are life-serving. In order to contribute to the general welfare of our society and the world, I have offered the full amount of my calculated taxes since 2000 to support humane efforts to build a more just society and world community. In recent years the majority of the taxes I’ve redirected have been offered as long overdue reparations to Black and Indigenous-led groups working for their own liberation. If and when our nation transforms its spending priorities to genuinely reflect a commitment to healing, justice, and ecological responsibility, I will be happy to pay taxes to the IRS.

I send this letter with all due respect for the individuals who work at the IRS. My objections to the role your agency plays do not obstruct my care for you as human beings. In fact, my tax resistance is as much on your behalf as it is on my own.

Chris Moore-Backman