Frances Crowe, WTR and Anti-War Activist Extraordinaire

NWTRCC Coordinator Lincoln Rice wrote yesterday:  “Brandywine in Philadelphia sent out an email on their list today about Frances Crowe, who is in hospice. She’s been a longtime supporter of NWTRCC, whom some of you may know. Here is the note from Brandywine: “Yes, the amazing peacemaker, Frances Crowe, is in hospice. Friends and loved ones predict she is soon to leave us. Frances is still able to receive visitors and field phone calls. If you wish to say Godspeed and express your gratitude for her magnificent life you may do so. Her number is: 413 586-4950 In March of this year, Frances Crowe celebrated her 100 birthday by honoring her wish of people coming out with homemade signs. Over […]

War Tax Resister Profile: Howard Waitzkin and Mi Ra Lee

 [Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts from a letter that Howard Waitzkin and Mi Ra Lee wrote the IRS and included with their 2017 tax return. Thank you for sharing!] Statement of Resistance from Howard Waitzkin to the IRS for Tax Year 2017: I am a Conscientious Objector (CO) to war, based on religious and ethical beliefs, as recognized and certified 36 years ago by the U.S. Selective Service System. My beliefs as a CO have prevented me from participating in military service. However, I have devoted my whole professional career to many forms of alternative service, trying to meet the unmet health and mental health needs of active duty military personnel and veterans, as well as those of other […]

Loving Life on the Margins: An Interview with Suzanne Belote Shanley & Brayton Shanley

Earlier this year, Suzanne Belote Shanley & Brayton Shanley published a book about the history of the Agape Community, which they cofounded in 1982 in Ware, Massachusetts. The community is dedicated to prayer, voluntary simplicity, and gospel-centered nonviolent witness. War tax resistance has been a core aspect of the community from its founding. The book, Loving Life on the Margins, is not only a history of the community, but also the autobiography of Suzanne & Brayton. They were kind enough to be interviewed by NWTRCC to discuss their lives and the Agape Community.   What was your initial motivation for becoming war tax resisters? We were becoming an active part of the peace movement of the late 1970’s which was […]

Mennonite Church Peace Tax Fund

A new alternative fund that will be available to any U.S. Mennonite at their local church is being proposed at the biannual convention of the Mennonite Church USA in Kansas City on July 4. War tax resistance alternative funds began in the late 1960s as a way for resisters to pool the thousands of federal tax dollars resisted because of the Vietnam War. Alternative funds serve the following purposes: Hold resisted taxes in escrow until the government allows taxpayers to pay taxes without any of that money going to war (through, for example, the Peace Tax Fund Bill). Provide potential security of funds from seizure by the IRS. (Since all deposits are held in one common account under an organization’s […]

The Picket Line 2019 Annual Report on Tax Resistance by David Gross

pay no war tax chicago graphic

Picket Line Annual Report (For the Full Article by David Gross, including the detailed 1040: A Walkthrough click here.  Links to previous Picket Line articles can be accessed by  clicking on the “♦” symbols.) Tax Resistance Sixteen years ago, on 19 March 2003, the U.S. began its “shock and awe” attack on Iraq. For me, this was the last straw and so I started what I then called “an experiment” in tax resistance so that I would no longer feel as complicit.♦ My goal was to stop financially supporting the U.S. government. I hoped at first to do this legally by lowering my income below the federal income tax line, so I quit my job to start my own small business and I began […]

War Tax Resistance Conference in DC

We had a delightful NWTRCC gathering in Washington, DC this past weekend. I want to start with a HUGE thank you to the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, who hosted folks who needed beds, hosted some of our weekend activities, and helped many of us make it down to the Venezuelan Embassy after our business meeting on Sunday. Thanks also to those who helped with food. Here are some of the highlights, in my humble opinion: Friday evening was supposed to begin with a report back from Code Pink activist Paki Wieland on her recent trip to Iran. Paki and other activists have been staying at the Venezuelan Embassy since it was officially turned over to them when Venezuelan diplomats who […]

Musings After A WTR Presentation

I did a presentation about war tax resistance before tax day to an antiwar section of the local DSA group, Democratic Socialists of America, a group that has grown like wildfire since the 2016 Bernie campaign. I gave a broad overview of the reasons, history and methods of war tax resistance, and we had a good amount of time for questions. I neglected to write up some notes during or after the session, but a few things that came up that still rattle around in my brain. There were definitely people in the room who were interested in war tax resistance, or tax resistance in general, for personal reasons — thus the invite to speak. But like many activists, they […]

Tax Day 2019 Report Back

Like many, I awoke Monday morning with anticipation for Tax Day. My excitement was related to thinking of the many throughout the US who would be resisting giving money to pay for war and raising the issue of bloated military spending to the general public through leafleting, holding vigils and marches.  NWTRCC had been busy in the lead up to April 15, sending out copies of the War Resisters League’s annual Pie Chart and information about how to resist paying taxes for war with packets to communities gathering on this day. Additional posts were made on social media, especially with tweets of the many ways people were refusing to pay taxes for war.  Lists of communities taking action were compiled […]

Terrible Taxes in History

Tax Day in the United States is Monday April 15 in most states (April 17 in Maine & Massachusetts). So I thought a post on terrible taxes in history would be appropriate. Back in December, HistoryExtra.com published an article about ten terrible taxes. (HistoryExtra is the official website for BBC History Magazine and BBC World Histories Magazine.) One downside of the article from an American perspective is that all of the taxes listed were English-enforced, but it’s still interesting and has some parallels with American taxes today. Here are a few of the unpopular taxes from their list: (1) The poll tax became more common in England at the end of the fourteenth century. It charged a flat tax per […]

WTRs in the Era of IRS Budget Cuts

The poor, underfunded IRS has been ignoring me lately. I get the usual two or three letters a year asking for payment or threatening levies, but I’m not getting enough personal attention to write about my own case in a monthly blog. However, I do know some others who have the long arm of the government reaching into their pockets. On the one hand there’s less to fear from the IRS; on the other hand potential resisters still have to know about the risks. A longtime resister who lives on a low income but has tax debt is suffering with a salary levy now. Although she works very part-time as a therapist, the levy is taking something from each check, […]

To Owe or Not to Owe: Tax Time 2019

For the first time in decades I find myself in danger of not owing federal income tax. As a resister/protester, this is unacceptable! I am self-employed, so I usually do a rough run-through on my taxes before the January 15 deadline for sending in last quarter estimated taxes. As a war tax resister I have chosen to file and openly refuse to pay the federal income tax portion. By the time I was working in the peace movement and learned about war tax resistance I was already in the system, and I liked the protest angle of openly refusing to pay so I just continued filing. For some years Social Security/Medicare (“self-employment tax”) were withheld from my paycheck, and when […]

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 […]