Tax Resistance – Everything You Need to Know
As a newbie to tax resistance I was very happy to discover there is a world of tax resisters that have resisted for decades. I have just begun to get to know them and they couldn’t be more supportive and welcoming. Thanks to them they have laid the ground work for the rest of us. They have won court battles, set up resistance counselors, created a hotline, started funds and formed a large supportive community of people working to create a more peaceful and just world. Much of the info I’ve learned has come from The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) and from experienced tax resisters. For the full story on how to resist please see the NWTRCC website.
What I have learned is that tax resisting comes in many forms and there is a level that everyone can find and be comfortable with. You can file and refuse to pay your taxes, not file at all, earn less than the taxable income, resist the phone tax, or comply but write letters of protest. On the NWTRCC website you can explore all of these options and the risks (if any) associated with them. There are tax resisters that have been doing one form or another of resistance for decades. Some resisters even feel that if they resist paying taxes voluntarily that is different from paying the taxes when they are demanded.
Tax resisting is not about merely refusing to pay for programs you disagree with. Tax resisting is about refusing to give money to causes that violate fundamental human rights. Tax resisters have all different reasons for resisting but it largely comes down to trying to promote a more peaceful and more just world. For me it’s not about will I change the world by resisting, but do I really feel okay with my money being used to buy bombs and drones that kill innocent people around the world. I do not want to willfully hand over my money for that anymore. A common practice among tax resisters is to “redirect”. Resisting is not merely a matter of refusing to pay taxes, it’s also about giving the money that would have gone to taxes to charities or organizations you believe in. Want to resist but still pay for the social programs the government supports? Give your money directly to the NEA or Meals on Wheels or other charitable organizations.
The 2016 election woke me up. It made me realize I needed to pay attention and stop blindly trusting our politicians to make the right choices. I am grateful it woke me up. It woke me up to how much corruption and abuse of power exists on all sides of the political spectrum. I have multiple reasons for resisting. Ultimately giving my money to a system that exploits average Americans to enrich those in power and seeks to solve problems with bombs and drones that kill innocent lives is not something I can look in the mirror and be okay with anymore.
Resisting is not easy and feels scary but I know I am supported and I know that if the “heat” starts to ever feel too much I can just “pay up” or perhaps pay up in small installments, very very small installments. I met one resister who has been resisting for 30 plus years. He even went to court with the IRS in the 80s and won. Many resisters have in fact won their court cases based on the 5th Amendment (read more on the NWTRCC website). Very few resisters ever go to court. The bottom line is the IRS is just as overworked as everyone else and going after you for $10,000 is not the best use of their time and money.
If you are looking to resist, there is an astounding amount of experience and information out there to help you. You will meet people who have been resisting for decades and others who are brand new to the idea of resisting. There is one resister who creates an annual report of his resistance. He graphs out the amount he resists and the tacked on fees. He has never gone to court and never had any money seized. He was originally motivated by a desire to not contribute to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Check out the NWTRCC website for all of your questions.
There is one thing I can tell you for sure. If you choose to resist there is a community of warm-hearted and peace loving people who are there to support you, myself included.
Also check out this Facebook event for more about tax resisting! We, The People’s Tax Revolution 2017