Longest Jail Time for a War Tax Resister

People unfamiliar with war tax resistance assume that if you do it, you go straight to jail, or at least wind up there eventually. “Why aren’t you in jail?” Years ago when I was in the ready-room before appearing on a TV interview program, the host asked me “Why aren’t you in jail?” Similarly, a 2006 episode of “Boston Legal” began with a legal secretary getting hauled off to jail the day after she mailed her 1040 form with “Stick It!” scrawled across the front to protest Bush’s Iraq War. Undoubtedly the IRS is pleased with this popular perception, which readily fuels fear of resistance. The longest? Joe Donato was convicted in 2004 and jailed in February 21, 2006, for […]

A Success Story: Combining War Tax Resistance Tactics

I came across this story in the NWTRCC newsletter archives and was reminded of the conversations we had at the May 2015 conference in Milwaukee, where many of Anonymous’ war tax resistance tactics were discussed. I’ve added links to updated NWTRCC resources. -Erica from the February 1998 issue of More Than a Paycheck A Success Story by Anonymous Filing tax returns may make it easier for the IRS to collect refused taxes. But it doesn’t make collection inevitable. For the last decade I’ve been filing legitimate 1040s each year, each with a letter explaining why I’m sending the amount on the “Amount You Owe” line to a peace and justice group instead of to the IRS. In ten years, the […]

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 […]

Is it ever right to refuse, on principle, to pay taxes?

Mentor, friend, farmer, war tax refuser Juanita Nelson died on March 9, 2015, and the memorial for her was May 30. Below is a sample of Juanita’s thinking from a point/counterpoint op-ed in the Sunday Republican, Springfield, Mass, April 4, 1993. The article turned up in a folder of miscellaneous documents from Pioneer Valley War Tax Resisters, the group in Western Massachusetts that Juanita was associated with for the past 30 years. We Owe It to the World to Not Pay for Wars By Juanita Nelson As I struggle to express my deep feelings about refusing, as a matter of principle and humanity, to pay taxes for war, for premeditated mass murder, a plane drones overhead. A frightening image explodes: […]

The Mysterious Ways of the IRS

“The Mysterious Ways of the IRS” was a topic of conversation during a recent war tax resistance (WTR) workshop. Many of the questions from resisters —whether new or longtime — related to “what might happen when.” If I file, when will the first IRS collection letter arrive? How long will it take them to seize my bank account? When will they garnish my salary? One of the difficulties of this form of war resistance is that there often is no absolute answer. We know this from the decades of experience by war tax resisters. A motto for WTR counselors is “There’s what the IRS can do, and there is what the IRS actually does.” What surprises many new resisters is […]

“All they have to do is draft our dollars”: A Pre-Tax Day News Roundup

As Tax Day approaches, war tax resisters are making the news: Elizabeth Boardman’s case against the IRS was rejected by the 9th Circuit. Read Peter J. Reilly’s report in Forbes. Later that week, Mr. Reilly published another piece, discussing the types of people who don’t pay taxes: evaders, protesters, and resisters. Longtime war tax resister, peace activist, and farmer Juanita Nelson passed away March 9. Read articles, obituaries, and remembrances of her life. Peter Smith, war tax resister and board member for the War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund, was interviewed on Northern Spirit Radio. (I liked this quote from host Mark Helpsmeet, also a war tax resister: “The only reason they’re able to wage this war is because they grab […]

New Video: Letters from War Tax Resisters

Hear three letters from war tax resisters to the IRS, family members, and the local newspaper. [closed captioning available] This year, as for many decades before, thousands of people around the country are refusing to pay some or all of their federal income taxes as a protest and/or an act of conscientious objection against the 45% of the federal budget that pays for war. We call on all people who desire peace to consider starting war tax resistance. Margaret says, “I cannot in good conscience send [the IRS] any money which would be used for training, arming or sending military forces to participate in war.” Ari says, “As I calculate my total taxes “owed” I like to dream about how […]

Today in History: Adams v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Sixteen years ago, the 3rd Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled against Priscilla Adams. She asserted that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) should accommodate her refusal to pay taxes that would go to war. However, the court maintained that mandating universal compliance with the tax law was the “least restrictive means” under RFRA of collecting revenue to support the budget, which of course left her religious beliefs entirely unaccommodated. As written in “RFRA Court Appeals” in the April 1999 More Than a Paycheck: Lawyer Goldberger argued that the burden of proof was on the IRS to show why it should not provide an alternative to Priscilla to paying for the military, as required by the Religious Freedom […]

Update on the Affordable Care Act as War Tax Redirection

by Robert Randall Note: This is a follow-up to Robert’s previous post from June 2014. Having now had a chance to further experience the Affordable Care Act (ACA, often called Obamacare) and see how it really works tax-wise, I wish to both correct some errors in my previous post and further expand on its potential usefulness as a way to redirect federal income taxes from war to something less awful. A reminder: this information is only relevant to you if you are eligible to receive assistance from the feds in obtaining health insurance or if, as a war tax resistance contact or counselor, you would like to be knowledgeable about and assist others in achieving clarity concerning this new way […]

Organizations Supporting War Tax Resisters

We recently updated the text version of our Practical War Tax Resistance #6 pamphlet, Organizational War Tax Resistance, and will update the print version sometime in the future. In this pamphlet, we feature stories about businesses and nonprofits that support their employees and independent contractors in war tax resistance, and get into the details of organizational approaches to WTR. One of our affiliates, the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, has a webpage with war tax resistance statements from its board members David Bassett, H.A. Penner, and Richard N. Woodard. David Bassett writes, “I am willing to pay the full amount of my federal taxes, if the government would provide that my tax payments will be used only for […]

Dear IRS, Dear Congress, Dear Military-Industrial Complex – Call for Submissions

Do you: Write to the IRS about war tax resistance? Send letters to your congressperson? Enclose a letter when you redirect resisted war taxes, explaining where the money comes from? Write to any other entities or people about war tax resistance near Tax Day? Want to start writing letters about war tax resistance now? I’m creating a 1-2 minute Tax Day video, containing messages from war tax resisters directed to the IRS, Congress, the president, the military-industrial complex, your family, your local newspaper, or any other entity or individual. NWTRCC has a terrific directory of letters to the IRS, but I would like to have this video feature letters we don’t already have on the website. You can submit your […]

Will I Get Audited?

In meeting with a new war tax resister recently, his first questions were about what will happen when he refuses to pay. “I expect an agent will come to my door, and I’ll be audited,” he said. There was a time some decades ago when many war tax resisters (WTRs) were audited, but that is no longer the case. Back in those days the IRS tended toward “field audits,” which did involve meeting in person with an IRS auditor. These days if the IRS audits, the vast majority are “correspondence audits,” meaning they are carried out by mail. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University keeps data on IRS enforcement, which shows this trend. Tax experts note the […]