Journeys Begin with the First Step

by DeCourcy Squire It is late winter in the 1950s. My father is closeted with lots of receipts, trying to figure out the taxes. Although he is a brilliant mathematician, he finds arithmetic, especially in these pre-calculator days, tedious and it makes him cross. My brother and I tiptoe around, careful not to disturb him. Despite the stress, my parents are strong supporters of a progressive income tax which helps the government pay for programs to promote the common good. Years later, they will decline to take an exemption that would allow them not to pay school taxes. Their example instills in me a strong sense of social responsibility-but how to express this takes me on a different path. It […]

Live and Love

by Mimi Copp Jesus says to love your enemies and your neighbors. In some ways, that is all that needs to be said as to why I have decided to redirect my federal tax dollars away from war-making and towards life giving initiatives. I can’t figure out how to justify the killing of those who Jesus says to love. How am I loving them if I’m a part of their destruction? I am a Christian; a follower of Jesus and therefore I believe that I cannot support the things that make for war. It has taken me many years to come to the place of redirecting my federal tax dollars. For the first time last year, at the age of […]

Wiser and More Determined

by Becky Pierce I have been a war tax resister for the past 43 years, all of my adult working life. Since 1989, when I stopped filing tax returns, I’ve gotten very little attention from the IRS. Because I am self-employed, my income is not normally reported to the IRS. But a little over a year ago (July 2007), a local agent started a series of collection actions for 1996, the one year for which a one-time, large chunk of income was reported. The IRS found and seized the joint account I had with my partner Mike. It seems that they now have, perhaps under new systems put in place since 9/11/2001, an easier way to find taxpayers’ accounts than their old way of […]

Dental Office Forced to Close

by Tom Wilson “I am sorry to announce that The Commonwealth has taken action that forces me to close my dental office for non-compliance with licensure and newer infection control protocols. I am deeply saddened that I must abandon patients or face arrest. Your records and x-rays may be picked up at the office.” Thomas A. Wilson D.D.S. So reads the public notice that Tom Wilson, dentist of 47 years and war tax resister since 1977, had to place in his local paper, The Greenfield (Mass.) Recorder. For 21 years Tom had been practicing his profession safely, but without a license — an act of civil disobedience each time he walked into his office. The state suspended his license in 1987 because […]

Heaven and Earth

by A. Jesse Jiryu Davis In the summer of 2006, I officially became a Zen Buddhist and promised to uphold the Buddhist precepts. It seemed to me that the gravest of them was Non-Killing, and that the most violent thing I did was to pay my federal income tax. That summer Israel was dropping American-made bombs on Lebanon, while US soldiers killed Iraqis and Afghans. A portion of each of my paychecks helped cover the costs. So I resolved to stop paying my taxes. I revised my W-4, claiming enough allowances that my withholding dropped to zero. When it came time to file my taxes, I filed normally, reporting to the IRS that I owed thousands of dollars, and I included a […]

Rick Gottesman

April 13, 2008 Internal Revenue Service Center PO Box 37002 Hartford, CT 06176-0002 To Whom It May Concern: Enclosed is a payment voucher for the amount of federal income taxes I owe for 2007. My tax return (Form 1040) was prepared and filed electronically on April 2, 2008. You will notice that I have not included payment. According to my last Social Security statement, I began paying income taxes in 1968. In the intervening 40 years, I have paid my taxes fully and without fail, because as a citizen of the United States I felt it my civic responsibility to contribute to the welfare of this country and my fellow citizens. I may not have always agreed on how my […]

J. Tony Serra, the War Tax Resisting Attorney

By Ed Hedemann He’s been called one of the greatest criminal defense lawyers of the 20th century. He’s also only one of two war tax resisters since World War II to have been jailed for “willful failure to pay” federal income taxes. Last March, Tony Serra was released after spending nine months in Lompoc Federal Penitentiary in California. Twice before — in 1974 and 1986 — Serra had been convicted because of his war tax resistance. There are hundreds of us who have been willfully refusing to pay our federal income taxes for war. Why him and not us? Or are we next? In June he agreed to meet with Susan Quinlan (Northern California WTR) and me so we could understand more about […]

War Tax Resisters Grow Harmony

By Susan Van Haitsma Imagine that you are sitting on a lawn chair atop a straw stack bordering a beautiful organic garden in the heart of Iowa. You are watching a golden harvest moon rise above the rows of corn that stretch out in front of you rustling like a sea of applause. The straw stack is a mulch supply for the beautiful garden which is named Growing Harmony Farm. You are seven miles east of Ames and seven miles west of the small town of Nevada, and the lights from these two communities glow slightly on either horizon. In between are fields of corn and soybeans, modest farm houses and the stretch of roadway where Twister was filmed. Your […]

Pointing To Another Way

by Stanley Bohn The Why As war tax resisters the why-we-do-it shapes the what-we-do. Since our reasons for not paying part of our federal income tax are not to avoid all taxes, my wife Anita and I use probably the least clever ways to resist taxes. We reduce our taxable income by giving as much as we can to charitable causes, fill out tax forms, and send in about three-fourths of what we owe. The remaining $500 to $2,000 we send to antiwar groups, or aid to victims of war, or agencies underfunded because the federal budget is lopsided toward military spending. Most Christians support war as necessary, so it may seem odd that we resist war taxes because we […]

The Making of an Activist

by Peter Smith I was a product of the 50s: Civil Defense drills, the Red Menace, McCarthyism, super patriotism, Korean War, etc. I joined NROTC in college so my parents would not have to pay my tuition and books. I had two younger sisters they needed to send to college. I did not like Navy life and resigned after spending the required four years in service, although my politics were as right wing as ever. While I was in the Navy we had to endure countless counter-insurgency lectures, as the military advisors were already starting their work in Vietnam. I arrived at the University of Wisconsin in the fall of 1964 and immediately joined a group called Young Christian Students (YCS), since […]

The Choice Seems Obvious

by Rev. Bucky Beach It was over 20 years ago that I started nonpayment of taxes owed to the IRS. I was scared, but youth breeds a sense of immortality, which was accompanied by a bit of a chip on my shoulder and a desire to be faithful to what I believed. I did some research and read some stories of property seizures and levies, but thought it was worth the risk. I withheld my money, sent the IRS a letter stating clearly why I was opposed to military taxation, and defied the IRS to come and get me. I received a few letters in response and waited. I never heard from them again. But then, I think I owed them a grand total of $80. […]

My War Tax Resistance Journey

by Carol Moore In 1975, while living in New York City, I was involved in radical feminism and political comedy, song-writing and play writing. I started supporting myself working off the books. Come April 15, 1976, I found that I owed the IRS more than $1000. I worked double shifts for two months to raise the money. As I sent the $1,000 off — still the largest check I’ve ever written — all I could think was that the money would pay for one big mortar shell that might kill a child or a family. Vietnam might be over, but who knew where the U.S. military would go next? The next three years I refused to work overtime to pay taxes that might be […]