National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

More than a Paycheck:News from the War Tax Resistance Movement

National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

February 2004 Contents

Subscriptions are $15/year, for your own complete illustrated paper copies.

Editor: Ruth Benn
Layout: Ajay Advani/Susan Quinlan

More Than a Paycheck is the bimonthly publication of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, a clearinghouse and resource center for the conscientious war tax resistance movement in the United States. NWTRCC is a coalition of local, regional, and national affiliate groups working on war tax related issues.

NWTRCC Mission Statement: NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, environmental destruction, and militarization of law enforcement as integrally linked with the militarism which we abhor. Through the redirection of our tax dollars, NWTRCC members contribute directly to the struggle for peace and justice for all.

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"You Don't Gotta" -- S.O.A.!

War tax resisters were very prominent at the annual School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) protest in Columbus, Georgia. Robert Randall coordinated the NWTRCC literature table and a team of war tax resisters from around the country helped to hand out all 3,000 of our flyers during the weekend of November 23, 2003.

David Waters from Birmingham, Alabama, brought along a big supply of balloons, which floated about the crowds with the message "Pay War Taxes? You Don't Gotta!"

The tabling team collected more than 102 requests for more information about war tax resistance, most of the literature was sold, and numerous in-person referrals to local counselors and groups were made.

Some of our wtr folk, including NWTRCC people, were among those who crossed onto the Fort property and were arrested. They face stiff fines and six months in prison. At this writing, trials are upcoming, and updates are available at the SOAW website: www.soaw.org.

Among the war tax resisters arrested were Karl Meyer of Nashville, Tennessee, Peg Morton of Eugene, Oregon, and Kathy Kelly of Chicago, Illinois. Karl was arrested a second time for refusing to submit to the search being conducted on everyone entering the demonstration area (a practice begun before the 2002 actions). Kathy Kelly wrote of the rough treatment she received after her arrest and commented that "most of us in the 'tank' inside the Muskogee County jail acknowledged that during the rough processing we wondered, 'What country do we live in?' We now live in a country where Homeland Security funds pay for exercises which train military and police units to control and intimidate crowds, detainees, and arrestees using threat and force." (Her article is on the web at: http://vitw.us/archives/000456.html).

The December 4, 2003, Eugene Weekly wrote a great profile on Peg and her motivations for traveling to Georgia and facing prison for crossing the line.

The balloon slogan, "You Don't Gotta" was especially appropriate because it was the slogan used by Wally Nelson, who died at age 93 in May 2002, and members of Pioneer Valley War Tax Resistance (MA) in attendance brought along some of Wally's ashes to scatter on Fort Benning. Wally's ashes were mixed with those of Chuck Matthei, a Vietnam era draft resister, follower of Gandhi, and close friend of Wally's, who died of cancer last year. Singer/songwriter Charlie King announced the action from the stage, and explained to the crowd that Wally and Chuck were continuing their resistance even in death. Will some trainee at Fort Benning suddenly find him- or herself stopped in their tracks by whispered voices repeating the words "You Don't Gotta"?

Thanks to Robert Randall, Peg Morton, and Karen Brandow for contributions to this report.

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Counseling Notes:

IRS Standard Deductions and Exemptions for 2004

IRS standard deduction and exemption amounts are adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases. To figure out how much you can earn in 2004 before owing income taxes, identify your category and multiply the personal exemption by the number of dependents you can claim, including yourself, then add your standard deduction. For example, if you are married and filing jointly, with two children, you would add $12,400 ($3,100 x 4) to $9,700, equaling a taxable level of $22,100.

Below this amount your family would owe no income taxes for the year. It is also the amount of income the IRS needs to leave you to live on during the year if they are garnishing your assets. Note: this formula does not apply to Social Security taxes.

Category Standard Deduction Personal Exemption
Single $4,850 $3,100
Married, filing jointly $9,700 $3,100
Married, filing separately $4,850 $3,100
Head of household $7,150 $3,100

The additional personal exemption for those over age 65 or blind remains at $950 for married taxpayers. For a single taxpayer or head of household who is 65 or over or blind, the additional standard deduction is $1,200.

Social Security

The NWTRCC office seems to be receiving more and more calls on the issue of Social Security, how to apply as a nonfiler, and related issues. Local counselors would do well to read through the article by a longtime resister writing as Payno Warbucks that appeared in MTAP in December 2002. The article is still available on the NWTRCC website at www.nwtrcc.org/mtap02/mtap1202.html#ssa or call or write the office for a copy. And please keep the office updated on any new information that you learn on this topic.

Cell Phone Service

Some people are finding that their service gets cut off for refusal to pay the federal tax on cell phone service. There are so many companies now, that the counseling we best offer suggests the usual "persistence" or changing companies until an agreeable one is found. Sample letters and other updates will be posted on the www.hanguponwar.org website in as timely a fashion as possible.

A recent success: After great persistence in talking with company employees, Robert Randall received this information from a Tax Compliance/Audits Manager at Sprint: "We can credit this charge each month if you send us a letter stating your refusal to pay each month. Please reference the account number, invoice month, and amount you are disputing. Your can fax the letter to 913-315-0326.… Today we are crediting your account for $8.51, as requested in your letter." Another phone tax note: Perhaps some of you have noticed the stories about the growing availability of internet phone service. At this point, apparently, there are no federal taxes on this service. Worth looking into!

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MANY THANKS

We are grateful to the following groups who have given since our last newsletter. Your support makes a difference! And thanks to all the individuals who responded to our end-of-year appeal. During the presidential elections there is a trend for contributions to drop off considerably. If you have not given, please help NWTRCC stay afloat during this important time!

Bethesda Friends Meeting, DC
Resources and Organizing for Social Change (ROSC), ME
New England War Tax Resisters League, CT
Citizen's Tax Moratorium, IA
Southern Arizona WTR/Nuclear Resister, AZ
Worcester-Pleasant St. Friends Meeting, MA

Thanks to the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and the Oregon Peace Worker for their recent articles on Hang Up on War, Peace Taxes and War Tax Resistance. There are probably others out there too, but these happened to catch our eye.

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Network List Updates

New network lists of counselors, affiliate groups, area contacts, and alternative funds were updated and mailed out to affiliates in November. The NWTRCC website includes contacts for all listings with offices, and for individuals with email addresses. If you would like the complete national list or the list for your region, please contact the office for a copy.

Corrections:

National

Add new affiliate, Voices in the Wilderness, 1460 W. Carmen Ave. Chicago, IL 60640, (773)784-8065, www.vitw.org.

Southwest

New Austin Website: http://www.acomt.org

Mid-Atlantic

Larry Bassett has moved from Maryland to Lynchburg, VA. New email: lhbassett@ntelos.net

Northwest

NACC (Seattle). Due to a domain name scam/snafu http://nacc.info no longer works. Please use http://riseup.net/nacc/ until further notice.

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International News

British Success with Conscience "Peace Tax Return"

Conscience The Peace Tax Campaign, based in London, England, reports great success with their Peace Tax Return, called "How to Avoid Paying for War," that they first produced in 2003. It is designed with a Part A for people who do not file a return because their tax has been withheld directly from their salaries (the PAYE-Pay As You Earn-system in England) and for people who want to register a protest but are not refusing to pay. Part B is for people whose tax is self-assessed and plan to refuse to pay some or all of their taxes. Finally there is a section to return to Conscience for more information, and they have received hundreds of requests for more information from people new to war tax resistance along with requests for bundles of the form to give out. Their website is a work in progress, but will include campaign information: http://www.conscienceonline.org.uk.

The group's Autumn 2003 newsletter, Conscience Update, also reports on a few cases of note:

Long time campaigner and war tax resister, Roger Franklin, was made bankrupt in late June. Roger has consistently refused to pay any taxes which contribute to war. He was sentenced to 28 days in Gloucester Prison in 1995 and a further 21 days in 1996. He has been made bankrupt before but this time for a much larger sum-several thousand pounds-which would have fuelled the British military presence in Iraq.

He says: "I feel it is a remarkably nonviolent way to resist but only, of course, for those with enough to survive the inevitable financial costs and a conscience that can accept not having given the penalty money to the peace movement. But money, inequality and injustice are at the root of much violence. There will be some in the peace movement who will say the money could have been better spent in a different way but money doesn't solve that much. I'd rather make a strong protest and make it quite clear I cannot support things I consider extremely dangerous."

Meanwhile, in August, two more war tax resisters were taken to court. Retired teacher Brenda Boughton from Oxford was given 28 days to pay her war taxes. She insists she will not hand over the money but expects it to be taken from her bank account-a process known as "garnishee."

Joe Jenkins, a Hereford author, was given only 14 days to pay his war taxes. His defence was struck out as an 'abuse of court' by Judge Coughlan and described as 'irrelevant' by Inland Revenue. In his defence Joe argued that the defining feature about rights, including the right to life, is that they are absolute. He believes that there is a categorical imperative that calls all taxpayers to accept that a single person's life, including an Iraqi civilian's, has intrinsic value and worth and cannot be traded off against the security of the majority; particularly when other avenues have not been exhausted.

Joe has done tremendously well at attracting media attention. He has appeared in interviews on BBC TV and radio and had extensive local press coverage.

And this excerpted from a story about the Peace Tax Form in The Guardian online edition, October 26, 2003:

Robin Brookes, a traditional toymaker from Devizes in Wiltshire, is … angry at the Government's action in Iraq (what he calls a "reckless and illegal war" and says he is waiting for a reassurance from the Revenue that his money will not support further military action. "I am not against paying tax. I'm keeping the money in a separate account, and I'll voluntarily pay it when I see a convincing change in our Government's approach to world problems," he says.

His stand has not impressed the Revenue, which is treating the amount as overdue tax and is adding interest to his bill in the usual way. It also led him to an appearance in the Magistrates' Court in Chippenham on 13 October, where he was given three months to pay up.

Brookes says he is considering his options but is becoming resigned to an eventual visit from bailiffs or an attachment order on his bank account. "In all conscience, I just can't say, 'All right then, I'll write a cheque'," he says. And next tax year, he anticipates making the same principled stand. "I want to live under a Government which pro-actively seeks to resolve conflicts long before they escalate into war. We should have the right to have the part of our taxes spent on the military diverted to peace-building activities," he says. 

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NWTRCC Business

Good Food, Good Company in Chicago

by Jessica Stewart

Editor's Note: The label under the this article's picture in the print version of the newsletter had the name Rey Gonzales as one of the musicians. His correct name is Rey Hernandez. Sorry, Rey!

The November 2003 meeting of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee was held in Chicago at Quaker House in the Hyde Park neighborhood. It is a beautiful old house, and I found the accommodations to be excellent. Finian, my one year old son, and I were thankful for the great child care room. A big thank you goes out to Brad Lyttle who did a lot of organizing for the weekend, secured the Quaker House, and has been active for several years in renovating it.

The weekend began with the Friday meeting of the Administrative Committee, of which I am a member. We discussed various issues and came up with recommendations for Sunday's coordinating committee meeting.

Friday evening the actual conference got started with introductions and people speaking about where they had been with war tax resistance in 1983 and/or a little bit about themselves and their history of war tax resistance. Karl Meyer, who was at the 1983 Chicago meeting of NWTRCC, spoke about the history of war tax resistance in Chicago and nationally. Brad welcomed us all to Chicago and gave us a brief history of organizing for peace and justice in Chicago. It was great to hear how so many folks have been committed to peace and justice for so long and keep on keeping on.

The main presentation of the weekend was "The Cost of War." It was given by Mark Frey of Christian Peacemaker Teams and Danny Muller of Voices in the Wilderness. They both spoke about the international peace and justice work of their organizations and about the current situation in Iraq. Mark and Danny and others also spoke about U.S. tax dollars at work in Colombia and Palestine. Since becoming involved in war tax resistance I have observed how many longtime resisters are inspired by their experiences of working in countries that have suffered under United States foreign policy. That was certainly my experience in Palestine, where I and other members of my family were told many times that it was our tax dollars paying for the destruction and killing. We were glad to be war tax resisters during those moments and since.

Danny spoke about how Voices was founded by war tax resisters. The weekend of the conference, my partner was leaving for Iraq, and the sessions really inspired me to think how we can use delegation experiences as a war tax resistance organizing tool.

There were also sessions on aging and social security, issues in war tax resistance counseling, jobs, employment and earning a living, and support for war tax resisters. I attended one on aging and social security, facilitated by Mary Loehr. There was discussion about building communities of support. Mary spoke about the Ithaca Health Fund, a grassroots, community funded healthcare cost assistance program than anyone can join. David Waters spoke about receiving health care in Cuba, where it is good and cheap.

We ate excellent food provided by Katie Feit and Mike Bremer and their three-year-old son Noah. My enjoyment of the weekend was definitely enhanced by having a satisfied palate and full tummy. Mike took those of us willing to get up at 6 a.m. for a tour and breakfast at an open air Mexican market. I had several very hot, steaming cups of café con leche and a chile relleno. Anything you could possibly ever want was for sale at this market. It was fully worth getting up so early and braving the cold.

On Sunday morning, following our foray to the market, we had the Coordinating Committee meeting. Ruth Benn gave a report on her first six months at NWTRCC. In it, she talked about the Hang Up on War campaign. It is a web based effort, staffed by Iraq Pledge of Resistance to get peace activists to resist paying the telephone tax. The CC agreed that NWTRCC endorse this project, which is also supported by United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, AFSC and others. We approved two new brochures: a revision of the basic and "Why aren't all peace activists war tax resisters." They are both great brochures and will soon be available from NWTRCC. Throughout the weekend, there was discussion about how to strengthen NWTRCC's work and increase its visibility in the peace movement. Towards that end, we approved a proposal to streamline the endorsement process for big marches and demonstrations. There were numerous other decisions, including a new budget, which added a bit extra to literature production, but otherwise remained at its modest levels. Readers who are interested are welcome to ask the NWTRCC office for a copy.

For me, Finian and several others, the weekend concluded with an exciting driving tour of Chicago, given by Brad Lyttle, which included Haymarket Square and Hull House. I really enjoyed the opportunity to come together with war tax resisters from all over the country and deepen our commitment to refusing to pay for killing. The May meeting of NWTRCC will be in Colorado Springs, May 7-9, 2004 and is sponsored by Citizens for Peace in Space. I hope to see you there.

Nominations Due

Nominations are needed for the NWTRCC Administrative Committee. Affiliates should discuss this at upcoming meetings, and if you as an individual have an interest in being more involved, you are welcome to nominate yourself. The Administative Committee works closely with the Coordinator between national meetings, keeps updated on her work by phone and email, consults with her when issues need clarification, and prepares for and facilitates the twice yearly Coordinating Committee meetings in May and November. full members serve for two years; alternates serve for one year and generally move into full positions for one term (three years total). Members will be chosen at the May 7-9, 2004 meeting, and terms start June 1. Please contact the office ASAP or by early March if you are interested, or if you or your group has someone to nominate. We will follow up with more details.

Friend or Foe?

The Patriot Network, a right-wing anti-tax group, included the following note at the bottom of their page discussing W-4 forms:

"Do you think that Patriots are the only ones not paying taxes? Along with some of the richest families in America, consider the following: www.nwtrcc.org."

Yes, a direct link to the NWTRCC site, and not really a complimentary one at that.

The Patriots are not friends of the IRS (variously referred to as "Instant Robbery Squad," "lying, theiving, tax collectors," and "bureauRats"), and say their purpose is a return to Constitutional government. They call for "a good old-fashioed tax revolt" to wrest the government away from "the free lunch crowd." One of their favorite slogans is "Taxes are revolting ... why aren't you?"

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Resources

Books at Bulk Rates!

War Tax Resistance: A Guide to WithholdingYour Support from the Military, published by the War Resisters League, can be purchased from the NWTRCC office with bulk discounts. 1-3 copies are $15 each plus $2 postage per copy. Bulk rates begin with orders of 4 copies: 4-10 are $10 each (33% discount) and more than 10 copies are $9 each (40% discount). Postage will be added to each order. Very large orders (20 copies+) should still go through the War Resisters League office in Manhattan.

New Brochure

"Why Isn't Everyone Who's for Peace a War Tax Resister?" In final production now, the brochure, which gives short answers to common concerns, should be available soon. Single copies: free; 15¢ each for small orders, or $12/100 (12¢ each for over 100), from the NWTRCC office.

Practical Series

Pricing has changed on the series. Single copies of each are now $1, up from 65¢. Bulk rates for affiliates remain the same, at 50¢ each. As a reminder, the series consists of #1: Controlling Federal Tax Withholding; #2: To File or Not to File an Income Tax Return; #3: How to Resist Collection, or Make the Most of Collection When It Occurs; #4: Self-employment - An Effective Path for War Tax Refusal; #5: Low Income/Simple Living as War Tax Resistance; #6: Organizational War Tax Resistance: Employers, Contractors, & Financial Institutions.

We are hoping that a committee formed at the last Coordinating Committee meeting will be producing #7 within the year on the topic of aging and war tax resistance, covering such issues as social security, health insurance, etc.

Close Out Special

Copies of the 1988 Handbook on Military Taxes & Conscience (222 pages) published by Friends Committee on War Tax Concerns and edited by Linda Coffin are available from the NWTRCC office. The book still offers very useful for background on Quakers and war tax resistance, philosophical considerations, Biblical and religious arguments, and considerations on facing the consequences of resistance. Single copies are $3 postpaid.

WTR Parents Wanted

Baby Bloc is looking for submissions for an activist parent's handbook. They especially want something from war tax resisting parents. Get involved (they have great tee-shirts too).

Contact them for all the details: Baby Bloc, c/o Guadalupe House, 1417 So. G. St., Tacoma, WA 98405, babybloc@yahoo.com.

Book Published

Congratulations to longtime war tax resister and former NWTRCC Administrative Committee member, Clark Hanjian, who has published a book, The Sovrien: An Exploration of the Right to Be Stateless. The book describes statelessness in two forms: the unintentionally stateless person, who lacks citizenship against their will, and the intentionally stateless person, who chooses to live as a citizen of no country-both sovereign and alien, thus "sovrien." Clark renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1985, and his book examines the advantages and disadvantages of this choice and the responsibilities that go with it.

The book is available for $25 ($30 outside the U.S.) from Clark Hanjian, PO Box 4594, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or see http://www.ch.vineyard.net.

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War Tax Resistance Ideas & Actions

Get Ready for April 15, 2004

Connecticut

Joanne Sheehan, WRL New England, wrote up some April 15 action ideas last year that appear on the War Resisters League website, http://www.warresisters.org/tax-day_ideas.htm. It's a good list of many tried and true events-penny polls, giving out pie, burning tax forms-that can remind organizers of actions they haven't done in a while or spark new ideas. 2004 is a good year to go to a budget hearing at a City Council or school board to talk about the federal budget. Joanne is thinking of adding a jar for Halliburton to their penny poll this year or having fake mailboxes where people could file their taxes "Direct to Bechtel" to put emphasis on who's profiting from taxpayers‚ money.

Axis of Peace

The Axis of Peace campaign, which encourages tax redirection in small and symbolic amounts such as $9.11 or $91.11, was launched by war tax resisters in the Northwest in 2002. As reported in the past, the campaign has been slow to grow, but organizers are looking to 2004 to make some gains.

John Chisholm reports in the Autumn 2003 Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia newsletter that new ideas are bubbling forth in the form of creating "redirection groups." A member of the Western Washington Veterans for Peace is appealing to his fellow veteran activists to redirect a symbolic amount to the Rachel Corrie Foundation, established to commemorate Rachel, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while attempting to block the razing of a Palestinian home. Churches and other collections of people could form redirection groups and pool their resisted money to make significant contributions to drug treatment facilities, war victims support projects, environmental protections funds, etc. Redirection groups could compose a common letter of "protest and redirection intent" that each person would include with their tax returns and copy to government officials. By establishing a redirection group, an ongoing support network is created at the same time.

For more information on the Axis of Peace see the website at http://axisofpeace.info or contact the NACC office:4554 12th Ave., NE, Seattle, WA 98105, (206) 547-0952, or cmtc@igc.org.

Northern California

Check out the new Northern California War Tax Resistance (NCWTR) website at http://www.nowartax.org. They are eager for your feedback as they develop the site further, and would appreciate links to other peace and justice sites.

NCWTR is also busily preparing for tax season. They reported high attendance at workshops last year and have already received requests for workshops much earlier than in previous years. Introductory workshops have been set for February 8 in San Francisco, February 22 in Davis, and March 27 in Berkeley, along with plans for a war tax resistance contingent in the March 20, Global Day of Action, march in San Francisco.

For more information contact them at (510) 843-9897 or nowartax@yahoo.com.

Legislative Effort in NYC

City Council member Bill Perkins (D-central Harlem) has embraced the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund and is working together with the Riverside Church and the Global Justice and Peace Ministry in New York City to pass a City Council resolution of support for the legislation. They are just getting started, but hope to use this as a model for other cities. Help is needed from all folks in New York City to push this along.

For more information contact: Neena Das of the Global Justice and Peace Ministry, 253 Lenox Ave, #2, New York, NY 10027, peacetax@hotmail.com. The number for Bill Perkins' office is 212-662-4440 and Riverside Church is 212-870-6853.

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WTR Profile

My War Tax Resistance Journey

by Carol Moore

During the 1960s I made the transition from pro-Vietnam War loyal American to anti-authoritarian peacenik through the not unusual combination of reading, reacting to mounting violence and injustice and listening to lots of rock and roll. However, no one ever handed me the right leaflet, so while I attended a few antiwar meetings and protests over the years, I did not become a committed peace activist until 1979 when I joined the thriving antinuclear movement.

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 used for such purposes. To assuage my fear of the IRS, I promised myself I'd pay them "when I got rich" off my artistic endeavors.

I had one instructive "psychotic episode" after two people in a row warned me the IRS was going to put me in prison. I snapped and became convinced the IRS was about to grab my meager possessions. I moved my valuables into a spare room fixed up as my "roommate's" room to "fool" the IRS! Luckily, I soon ran into someone who had had many tangles with the IRS. He reassured me the IRS first had to put a lien on my assets and that for a $2,000 debt they don't take your stereo and second hand coat-or put you in prison. His assurances broke my paranoid spell-and helped bolster me for what was to come.

A few months later I was awakened from a dream about playing cards with the girls in prison by the sound of the doorbell. You guessed it, the IRS! I begged poverty and foolishly gave him my bank account number. A few days later they seized the account. Soon after I met with agents in their offices and arranged for a $30-dollar-a-Month payment schedule. After a few months I got angry at something the government did and stopped paying. I didn't hear from them again for a few more years.

In 1979, after the Three Mile Island incident, I finally hooked up with anti-nuclear and peace activists and soon converted from confused Democrat to Gandhian decentralist libertarian. After a few years of procrastination, I went to my first New York City war tax resisters meeting, followed quickly by the 1982 organizing meeting of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee in Washington, DC.

Moving to Los Angeles soon after, I found great comradery and support in its group of long time resisters, including Joe Maizlish. That was just the beginning of my long career of handing out DON'T PAY WAR TAXES!! leaflets and writing the IRS every year telling them why I sent no money with my return.

In Los Angeles I started working temporary or short-term jobs and claiming the maximum number of deductions so I would pay no taxes. I learned through a couple pay garnishes that it takes a year to eighteen months for the IRS to catchup with you at your temporary agency or permanent job.

They caught me at one permanent job after just a year. I immediately gave my two weeks notice. The bookkeeper gave me forms to fill out so the IRS could calculate how much to garnish. Noticing the forms permitted one to claim dependents, I wrote down the full number allowed, claiming Mohandas G. Moore, Gandhi Moore, Martin .K. Moore, Corretta S.K. Moore, etc. The bookkeeper looked at me strangely, but filed the paperwork. Miraculously I kept most of my paycheck!

In 1987, just before I left Los Angeles, I received written notification to show at their offices. Their typist had erred and transposed the notification date and the appointment date. By this time I'd grown quite cocky, explaining I'd come to their meeting even though the document was not valid because of the date error-and telling them I refused to pay to boot! Reading the agent's notes on me as he scribbled, I noticed he'd previously written "Tax Party Protester." Knowing that the IRS routinely gave "right wing" tax resisters jail time, while going so much easier on War Tax Resisters, I demanded that he scratch that out and write "War Tax Resister." He did so.

I'd been in Washington, D.C., only a few months when I got an urgent letter from the IRS claiming I had not appeared for my Los Angeles meeting. However, the meeting was uneventful as I showed them the evidence I had met with the IRS and again refused to pay. I then hooked up with the D.C. War Tax Resisters who informed me I could bring friends to such meetings for support. Unfortunately I haven't been called in since! The fact that I never pick up certified letters at the post office unless I am expecting them and never respond to their requests to call an agent may have something to do with that.

Frankly, I have not been as pro-active a resister as I might be. However, in July 2000 I did join six other war tax resisters from around the nation in attempting to enter the Washington IRS headquarters to "invite prosecution for failure to comply with tax regulations." So hopefully they still have my letter, complete with social security number! Over the years I have continued doing temporary secretarial work, supplemented that with selling peace buttons and continued to get only four or five letters and notices a year from the IRS. Of course, after the September 11 attacks, and with the passage of the Patriot Act, it has been just a matter of time before the IRS starts to ask a lot more questions of us resisters.

The main thing I have noticed is the IRS will no longer just accept my claim of having made a certain amount of money. They now want evidence. Long ago I stopped sending in my W-2 forms because it helped them find my employer and garnish me more quickly. This year was the first the IRS demanded W-2s or 1099s and refused to accept my 2001 tax return until they got them.

In the year 2002 I made and declared under $3,000 in income, well below the taxable level However, they still refused to accept my return unless I sent in W-2s or 1099s. Also, for the first time in 15 odd years, they ruled my writing "peace activist" as my occupation on my return was "frivolous." I wrote back explaining I made only cash selling peace buttons and that I'd changed my occupation to "peace button sales." evidently that satisfied them.

Now that Patriot Act II has passed and the government effectively can snoop into any account held by any American for any reason, we may all start getting a lot more queries. So don't forget when you are meeting with the IRS, bring war tax resistance supporters and wear peace and Gandhi t-shirts and buttons. Let them know which side we are on-the side of nonviolence and peace.

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National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
PO Box 150553, Brooklyn, NY 11215 • Email: nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org
www.nwtrcc.org