Conscience and History: Frivolous Filing

image of black mailbox with 10 IRS envelopes sticking out the top

At my very first NWTRCC meeting in 2008 in Eugene, we met a local couple who had resisted $50 of their taxes as their first foray into war tax resistance. Along with their return, and a check for the total tax amount minus $50, they enclosed a letter explaining their reasons for resisting. Unfortunately, the couple received an alarming-looking letter from the IRS, accusing them of making a “frivolous” argument about why they weren’t paying their taxes. The letter threatened them with a $5,000 frivolous filing penalty if they did not re-file their taxes. Even though the couple complied, and paid the $50 they had resisted, the IRS fined them $5,000 each. Eventually, by contacting the Taxpayer Advocate and their […]

Closing the Chapter, But Not the Book

by Elizabeth Boardman Kudos to Quaker attorney Bob Kovsky of San Francisco, who worked for seven years on a legal suit I brought against the IRS claiming that as a Quaker, I was subject to misdirection, threat and harassment by the IRS when I honestly and openly followed the precepts of my Christian church in refusing voluntarily to pay for war. The case moved back and forth between district and appellate courts for years. Always rejected out of hand, no court hearing was ever scheduled. Bob and I have finally laid down this effort. There have been positive effects, however. During this period, the IRS had threatened several other Quakers (including Steve Leeds and Vickie Aldrich) with a “frivolous filing […]

A Little Good News: War Protest is Not Frivolous

For years many of us in the war tax resistance network have been arguing with the IRS that no one should be charged with a frivolous penalty when they send a letter of protest against war spending with their accurate 1040 form, whether or not they are refusing some or all of the tax due. Of the egregious cases, Steve Leeds’ story is right up there. He did not even owe taxes when he received a frivolous penalty warning letter after he filed for 2009 and included a letter of protest about taxes being used for war. He fought this threat and actually got an apology from the IRS. Another couple resisted for the first time by refusing to pay […]