National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee

=========================
NEW ADDRESS! (May 1999)
PO Box 6512, Ithaca, NY 14851

(800) 269-7464. Email: nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org

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


February 1998. IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Movement Suffers Loss of Founders
  • WTRs Grant $1,700 to Help Close the Army School of the Americas
  • Counseling Notes (IRS Standard Deductions and Exemptions for 1998, Long Distance Phone Service Blocked, Employer Responses to WTR, IRS Problem Solving Opportunities)
  • Legislative Updates (Peace Tax Fund - Lobbying, Rapid Response, & New Personnel, New IRS Commissioner Sworn In)
  • Resources (Update for WRL Guide to WTR, Conscience & War, Information on So-Called "Defense")
  • WTR Ideas and Actions (A Day Without the Pentagon, Raising Consciousness in Church, Resistance to the Death Penalty, Why *Do* People Pay for War?, Online WTR Discussion Keeps You Current)
  • NWTRCC Business (5Th Annual Midwest WTR Conference and NWTRCC Meeting in Newton, KS; Looking for a Few Good Men and Women to Travel to Exotic New Places and Hug People!; Help Distribute Our Ads)
  • Local Group Reports (Lancaster, PA, Burnsville, NC, Kalona, IA, Milwaukee, WI)
  • Perspective: A Success Story, by an Anonymous WTR
  • About More Than a Paycheck and NWTRCC

  • Movement Suffers Loss of Founders
    Ernest Bromley, age 85, and Maurice "Mac" McCrackin, age 92, both founders of the modern WTR movement, died within two weeks of each other in December of 1997. Both had struggled with illness over the last few years.

    Ernest began his war tax resistance by refusing to purchase a defense tax stamp for his car in 1941. Serving a Methodist church in North Carolina, he was arrested, then jailed for 60 days for refusing to pay a fine. He lost his initial church because of his actions, but gained enough support to be able to serve other churches.

    When Ernest became liable for the income tax in 1944, he again refused to pay. He helped to found Peacemakers, a pacifist group which promoted war tax resistance and other forms of nonviolent direct action for many years. To the day he died, Ernest never paid taxes and the IRS never successfully collected money from him.

    In 1975 there was one serious attempt to get assets from Ernest and his wife Marion, another dedicated war tax resister who died two years ago at age 83. The IRS seized a house and property in Ohio, under the name of "Gano Peacemakers, Inc.," where the Bromley family lived. Supporters organized a national campaign, with letter-writing, demonstrations, and media work, and got the IRS to reverse the house seizure.

    Ernest and Marion were active in the national WTR movement during the war in Vietnam, and helped to found NWTRCC in 1982. They served as contact people for WTR information in the Cincinnati area for close to 25 years. Up until a month before his death, Ernest faithfully sent NWTRCC the $5 a month that he and Marion had pledged for many years.

    Mac began WTR in 1949, while serving as a Presbyterian minister in Cincinnati, by refusing to pay 70% of his income tax. After having his bank account levied for a few years, in 1952 he stopped filing and closed his account. He never thereafter cooperated with the IRS, nor had money collected, despite being carried into court and jailed on a few occasions.

    In 1963 the Presbytery of Cincinnati deposed him from the ministry because of his beliefs and actions. Some members of his church withdrew their membership and started the Community Church of Cincinnati with Mac as their minister. Twenty-five years later, in 1987, the Presbyterians reinstated Mac to the ministry in the same church from which he had been removed, and apologized for their previous actions.

    Both Mac and Ernest were active in peace and justice efforts until health problems prevented them. In 1990, they were arrested together in Washington, DC for climbing the fence at the White House in protest of the Gulf War. Shortly before his death, Mac received an award from Xavier University for his peace work.

    For those who wish to make contributions in Ernest's memory, friends are suggesting either NWTRCC, to encourage one of the principled stands most important to him, or the Equity Trust Fund (539 Beach Pond Rd, Voluntown, CT, 06384, (860)376-6174), a revolving fund capitalized with loans and gifts from socially concerned investors and donors where Ernest and Marion invested their own modest savings. AT press time we hadn't heard any suggestions from friends and relatives of Mac's.

    (Much of the above background information came from the WRL's Guide to Withholding Your Support From the Military, 1992.)



    WTRs Grant $1,700 to Help Close the Army School of the Americas
    At the instigation of Andy McKenna of Austin, TX, with support from many others around the country, war tax resisters organized a presence at the School of the Americas protest in Ft. Benning, GA, last November. The event drew 1500-2000 people, double what organizers expected, 601 of whom were arrested for civil disobedience.

    At least fifteen known WTRs attended the protest. During the weekend they staffed a literature table, passed out leaflets on WTR and the School of the Americas, and made sure their presence was announced publicly.

    Before a crowd of about 750 people, Andy made a brief statement about war tax resistance and presented a mock check to Fr. Roy Bourgeois of SoA Watch, representing $1,700 in refused taxes pledged by WTRs. The grant was raised on just a few weeks' notice, through the Internet and at NWTRCC's fall meeting.

    In his presentation, Andy referred to NWTRCC and the connections between doing civil disobedience once as opposed to doing it on a daily basis. He pointed out the half-hour of the military budget represented by SoA funding, and how WTR is another way to follow one's conscience and work to close the SoA. Later, after the arrestees were inside the base, NWTRCC Administrative Committee member David Waters, wearing his Veterans for Peace hat, talked about WTR as he gave the closing reflection.

    Andy said, "Due to the fact that I made announcements and also painted my face to be a sad clown, a number of people identified me as a resister and struck up a conversation about it. This proved to be challenging yet rewarding, as it required me to become an instant "counselor." Some people seemed willing to jump right in, to whom I suggested further thinking and reading, and others had tried it and given up or otherwise couldn't see themselves doing it. So the lesson is to tell your own story, to say 'I don't know, but we can find out,' and to simply listen."


    Counseling Notes
    IRS STANDARD DEDUCTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS FOR 1998
    To figure out how much you can earn before owing income taxes for 1998, find 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 a head of household with two children, you would add $8,100 ($2,700 x 3) to $6,250, equaling $14,350. Below this amount you would owe no income taxes for the year. Please be aware that this applies to income taxes only; Social Security taxes follow a different formula. This amount is also what the IRS has to leave you to live on during the year if they are garnishing your income.
    CategoryStandard DeductionPersonal Exemption
    Single$4,250$2,700
    Married, filing jointly$7,100"
    Married, filing separately$3,550"
    Head of household$6,250"

    There is an additional personal exemption for those over 65 or those who are blind: $850 for those who are married, filing jointly; $1,050 for head of household or single.

    LONG DISTANCE PHONE SERVICE BLOCKED
    Raymond Pisano, a telephone tax resister from Kotzebue, AK and a member of a local telephone service cooperative, did not get much cooperation from the manager in regards to his conscientious objection. The manager made hostile statements to Raymond and refused to look over materials he brought in regarding IRS and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. Shortly thereafter, Raymond's long distance service was blocked. He was able to receive long distance calls, but not call out.

    In consultation with NWTRCC, Raymond prepared a letter for the telephone cooperative detailing his conversations with the manager and the IRS regulations on refused phone taxes. About a week later, he discovered that his long distance service had been restored. He plans to write a follow-up note to see if there will be a policy addressing war tax resistance in the future.

    Raymond says, "Kotzebue is a very small rural outpost about 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle on the Chukchi Sea. It may represent a new frontier for war tax resistance and hopefully may motivate others to take the step themselves no matter where they are."

    EMPLOYER RESPONSES TO WTR
    An employer referred to in our last issue, a public policy research organization that received a levy notice from the IRS on a war tax resisting employee, subsequently sent the money to the IRS. They didn't make an official response to the WTR's letter asking them to refuse the levy, but conversations in the workplace made it clear that her request was at least taken seriously. The WTR is still somewhat nervous about how this will affect the way she is treated as an employee, but is satisfied with the action she took to involve her employer.

    The permanent board of New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) of the Society of Friends (Quakers) recently confirmed the interim board decision not to honor an IRS levy on the wages of NEYM Secretary Jonathan Vogel-Borne, at least until the Yearly Meeting convenes next summer. They appointed a three-person committee to draft a policy for an on-going position on WTR, which will also go to the Yearly Meeting session.

    IRS PROBLEM SOLVING OPPORTUNITIES
    In an apparent effort to bolster its image in the wake of Congressional scrutiny, the IRS has been scheduling "Problem Solving Days" in cities around the country. Local tax offices provide an opportunity for individuals with long-standing tax problems, who have had difficulty getting answers, to meet face-to-face with IRS employees. The IRS plans to hold similar events on a regular monthly schedule. For for future dates and locations, or to request that a problem be referred to the new IRS Tax Advocate, call 1(800)829-1040.



    Legislative Update
    PEACE TAX FUND - LOBBYING, RAPID RESPONSE, & NEW PERSONNEL
    National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) lobbyists were invited to the White House last November at the request of Maureen Shea, Public Liaison for Religious Affairs. They left the 1-hour discussion with her promise to help set up a meeting with tax policy officials at the Department of Treasury, which PTF supporters have been trying to arrange for some time without success. Subsequently, Acting Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Donald Lubick requested a meeting for the NCPTF with Deputy Tax Legislative Counsel Michael Thornton. At press time, the Campaign thought it likely that such a meeting would occur in January.

    Members of the Campaign also hope to return to the White House soon to meet with Bill Marshall, Counsel to the President. Mr. Marshall is apparently receptive to the idea of accomodation for conscientious objectors to military taxation. Lobbyists hope to ask him for the President's help with the bill.

    At their board meeting last fall, the NCPTF launched the Rapid Response Action Network, an effort to combine and coordinate legislative action alerts and the Congressional District Contact program, as well as to engage the membership in a wider range of activities. They hope to be more effective in connecting the resources and networks of the membership with the legislative and educational work of the Campaign.

    The NCPTF recently said good-bye to Outreach and Development Director Eirik Harteis, who left for a position with Pax Christi Metro DC. In addition to his fine work with the Campaign, Eirik did an excellent job staying in touch with NWTRCC and the broader WTR movement. He will be missed!

    For more information on the Campaign, contact the NCPTF at 2121 Decatur Place NW, Washington, DC, 20008-1923, (202)483-3751, toll-free: (888)732-2382, email: peacetaxfund@igc.org, web: http://www.nonviolence.org/peacetax.

    NEW IRS COMMISSIONER SWORN IN
    On November 13, 1997, Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin conducted the swearing in ceremony for Charles O. Rossotti as the new Commissioner of the IRS, replacing Margaret Milner Richardson who resigned in May.

    Given the choice of Rossotti, with his background as manager of a computer consulting firm rather than as a tax attorney, it is apparent that Congress is feeling the pressure to restructure the IRS and fix its antiquated computer system. Senate Finance Committee Chair William Roth (R-DE) praised Rossotti as "uniquely suited" to head the IRS.

    Interestingly enough, before entering the private sector, Mr. Rossotti had a job with the Department of Defense.



    RESOURCES
    UPDATE FOR WRL GUIDE TO WTR
    A brief insert updating the technical information in the 1992 edition of the War Resister's League Guide to Withholding Your Support From the Military is now available. Send a self-addressed envelope with a 32 stamp to: WRL, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY, 10012.

    CONSCIENCE & WAR
    The National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO) is producing a resource catalogue on issues of conscience and war. Plans are for it to be available in January. Contact NISBCO at 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20009-5706, (202)483-2220, email: nisbco@igc.org, web: http://www.nonviolence.org/nisbco.

    INFORMATION ON SO-CALLED "DEFENSE"
    Rolling Stone magazine has recently printed a three-part series entitled "Fortress America" by William Greider. The first, in issue 764f/765 (July 10-24, 1997) focuses on the overkill capacity and incredible expense of U.S. military hardware. The second (issue 774, November 27, 1997) covers the new economics of the military-industrial complex. The third, which NWTRCC wasn't able to see before press time, apparently came out sometime in December 1997.

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, July/August 1997, has an article about the uncovering of a massive Pentagon document, the Integrated Database (IDB) which lists some 450,000 worldwide targets for nuclear attack. Most targets are clustered in the territories of former and present "enemies" of the U.S., but not all; an entire category is coded "CA" for Canada. In addition to specific targets for every conceivable enemy in the future, the document contains details of projected blast, shock, radiation, and casualties.



    War Tax Resistance Ideas & Actions
    A DAY WITHOUT THE PENTAGON
    The War Resisters League project, "A Day Without the Pentagon," seeks to refocus public attention on issues of military spending and the culture of violence. In its first year, the campaign sparked more than fifty local events across the country. In 1998 the campaign will focus on the Pentagon itself, with a major action scheduled for October 19, 1998. On the weekend prior to the action, October 16-18, the WRL is hosting a 75th Anniversary Conference, also in Washington, DC.

    A number of WTRs have started to think about how they can participate in the above actions. Suggestions thus far are similar to WTR involvement in the School of the Americas demo (see page 1 of this issue); a WTR speaker and literature, a WTR affinity group for the civil disobedience portion, perhaps a caucus or workshop, a grant of resisted tax money to DC-based groups, perhaps some visits to Congress to lobby for the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund bill, etc.

    To help WTRs on this effort, contact Andy McKenna, PO Box 8631, Austin, TX, 78713, 512/474-6053, email: atdmckenna@hotmail.com; or Carol Coney, 4002 Highway 78, #530-142, Snellville, GA, 30039, 770/979-5345, email: ckconey@catgoddess.com.

    For more information from the War Resisters League, contact Chris Ney at WRL, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY, 10012, (212)228-0450, email: wrl@igc.org, web: http://www.nonviolence.org/wrl.

    RAISING CONSCIOUSNESS IN CHURCH
    A couple, both long-time war tax resisters and Church of the Brethren pastors in Indiana, facing a possible levy for back taxes, decided to take the issue to their employer, the church. Since most members were not familiar with the issue of conscientious objection to military taxes, they preached a sermon on the subject and held a workshop one Saturday afternoon, attended by about 25 people (not too bad, they said, considering they only average twice that at a Sunday morning service). They also had many one-to-one and small group informal conversations with members.

    Wanting to deal with the matter before the church actually received a levy notice and was under the pressure of a deadline, the couple brought it to the Church Council, who voted 22 to 8 to honor an IRS levy, should it come. The WTRs were disappointed, but hopeful that people are "counting our witness to and within the congregation on this and other matters of conscience as very important and worthy of significant energy."

    RESISTANCE TO THE DEATH PENALTY
    Last year Judy Cumbee, a NWTRCC contact who is active in efforts to end the death penalty, and her husband Jack wrote the Department of Revenue in their home state of Alabama that of the $58 assessed they were paying $45 directly to the state, but redirecting $15 to the Children's Trust fund. They explained that much of their time is spent in working to abolish the death penalty and they could not in conscience write a check for the full amount to the state which funds the capital process. They added, "we're more than willing to try to help prevent any people from going that route. The Children's Trust Fund, fully supported by the state, seems to be one way to do that."

    Judy says, "This state has so many desperate needs I'm not comfortable with total refusal, but I felt good about making a statement and redirecting some of the money."

    (See information on Judy's concerts in the Resources section.)

    WHY DO PEOPLE PAY FOR WAR?
    Central Virginia peace taxpayer Ed Pearson is preparing a brochure/booklet intended to call attention to war/peace/tax money issues. He is seeking to find out what reasons have been given by taxpayers for choosing not to do war tax resistance. Send your information to him at POB 333, Nellysford, VA 22958 or fax to 1-804-361-1039 or email to peacetax@aol.com.

    ONLINE WTR DISCUSSION KEEPS YOU CURRENT
    (The following is a blatant advertisement from Robert Randall)

    Ever get discouraged because you seem to be the only one around not paying for war? Ever had a question about your war tax redirection but couldn't get hold of your WTR counselor? Or are you one of the great majority of war tax resisters who don't even have a counselor? Got a great idea for a wtr action but no one with whom to share it? Lonely for others who think like you do?

    There are others who know the feeling. Wouldn't it be great if you could just live with, say, five dozen other war tax resisters all the time? Whoa! OK, we're not inviting you to join other MTAP readers in a new commune in the mountains (at least, not until we get one organized), but we are letting you know how you can be in constant touch with more than 60 of the greatest, nicest, and, like you, conscientious people we know. Just join the war tax resisters' e-mail discussion and support group.

    In the past several months we have answered questions about phone tax resistance, IRS and Social Security checks, and Medical Savings Accounts. Our participants are the first to know about upcoming events and the first to get minutes from NWTRCC meetings. We organized a wtr presence at the School of the Americas demonstration almost entirely online. We support one another in our individual struggles with ourselves and with the IRS.

    And of course, we debate the issues: how to best reach out to others, how to promote (or change) the Peace Tax Fund Bill, what kind of lifestyle decisions to make, what NWTRCC should or should not do.

    To be a part of all this, you need only send an e-mail to majordomo@igc.apc.org. In the body of your message type the 2 words subscribe wtr-s

    That's it! You'll receive back an e-mail telling you how to confirm your subscription to the list. Follow the instructions, and then you will start receiving in your inbox copies of all posts made to wtr-s. You will also be able to post to the discussion. And your isolation will be ended forever!

    Note: MTAP readers who already have accounts with any network of the Institute For Global Communication (IGC), such as PeaceNet, EcoNet, ConflictNet, etc., may also participate in the discussion group by joining the conference pax.wtr.



    NWTRCC Business
    5TH ANNUAL MIDWEST WTR CONFERENCE AND NWTRCC MEETING IN NEWTON, KS

    The Heartland Peace Tax Fund, a project of the Newton Area Peace and Justice Center, will hostess the 5th Annual Midwest WTR Conference and NWTRCC's spring Coordinating Committee meeting May 1-3, 1998. The Midwest Conference will be on Friday evening the 1st and all day Saturday the 2nd, with NWTRCC business on Sunday morning May 3rd. People are welcome for the whole weekend or any part thereof.

    Anyone with input for the conference agenda should contact the local group at PO Box 185, Newton, KS, 67114-0185, (316)284-2828, or via email at balzerharlinsusan@juno.com by the end of February. Marian Franz, Executive Director of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund is a confirmed participant.

    People in Kansas and the surrounding states will receive registration information in late March. Others who wish to attend from outside the region should contact the NWTRCC office ASAP so we can keep an eye out for good airfares. Simple food and accommodations will be provided. There will be no cost for the weekend, but we will pass the hat.

    LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN AND WOMEN TO TRAVEL TO EXOTIC NEW PLACES AND HUG PEOPLE!
    We don't offer quite as many benefits as the Army, but we don't expect you to kill anyone, either! This year NWTRCC is looking for people especially, but not exclusively, from the southeast and California as new Administrative Committee members. Six people (four full members and two alternates) work closely with the Coordinator between national meetings, keep updated on her work by phone and mail, and consult with her when issues need clarifying. Members take turn serving as "buddy" to the Coordinator to provide moral and emotional support.

    NWTRCC pays the transportation costs of full members, or alternates filling in for full members, to national meetings. They meet all day on the Friday before Coordinating Committee meetings, which are always the first full weekends in May and November. Full members serve for two years; alternates serve for one year and often move into full positions for a term. Terms start on June 1st.

    We have been fortunate the last few years to have more than enough interested applicants to fill all positions. Members learn important new skills such as beauty queen waves and hand whistling. (We'll have to start including testimonials from former members!) Please contact the office by the end of February if you are interested or have someone to nominate.

    HELP DISTRIBUTE OUR ADS
    Do you belong to one or more local groups that put out newsletters? Feel like paying for an ad in a local paper? How about a campus newspaper? NWTRCC has display ads available for distribution to periodicals. Those of you on our Network list should have received copies by now, but if any others want to get the word out about WTR through advertising, request our display ads on topics such as the School of the Americas, wealthfare, praying for peace, telephone taxes, the environment, and the arms trade. (See this issue for an example.)



    LOCAL GROUP REPORTS
    LANCASTER, PA
    Titus Peachey of the Taxes for Life group attended a local IRS/Tax Reform Forum last November. Panelists represented Americans for Tax Reform, the Heritage Foundation, the House Majority Leader, and a local Congressman. He reports:

    "A significant amount of time during the forum was devoted to hearing local taxpayers describe their dealings with the IRS and their concerns about the IRS code. I presented my concerns regarding the IRS code as a religious freedom issue, noting that I am a conscientious objector to war, and that I performed alternate service with the Mennonite Church in Vietnam from 1970-1973.

    I noted that the same conscience which prevents me from participating in war as a soldier, also prevents me from paying taxes for war, but that the IRS code makes no provision for this. Thus every year on April 15 my wife and I must decide whether to
    break the law and withhold some of our tax dollars, or pay our taxes
    and violate our conscience.

    There were immediate "sympathetic nods" from the panelists, and Mr. Bill Beech from the Heritage Foundation responded, noting that the founders of this country wanted to preserve the right for people like me to withdraw from society. They did not wish to impose a general income tax on everyone, but rather wished to tax only the use of government services, which would allow greater liberty. He finished by assuring me that I had raised an interesting issue.

    A significant part of the agenda was a description of alternatives to the current code, such as the flat tax or the national sales tax. Most in attendance (by show of hands) seemed to favor a flat tax.

    I remain skeptical that this "scrap the code" movement will have much sympathy or patience for war tax resisters in the long run, but
    perhaps their strong support for individual freedoms will inadvertently create some space."

    BURNSVILLE, NC
    Judy Conrad, a NWTRCC Area Contact, has refused to pay a state tax earmarked for road construction. A collection warrant, outstanding for the past year, was delivered recently, requiring Judy to report to the County Sheriff's office. The Sheriff asked if she intended to pay the tax and she said no, that she didn't want to pay for roads that are destroying whole communities. He said she was free to go and she hasn't heard anything since.

    KALONA, IA
    On November 8th 1997, Iowa Peace Network held the first meeting of its War Tax Resisters Support Group at the Kalona Mennonite Church in Kalona, Iowa. The group was formed at the request of some members of IPN's Penalty Sharing Community who had recently been threatened with a lien on their business and home by the IRS because of their war tax resistence. About a half dozen people attended the meeting; six or seven people expressed interest in attending future meetings.

    The afternoon was spent sharing individual stories about why people chose to be war tax resisters or supporters of war tax resistance as well as experiences with the IRS. It was agreed that the group would meet again after the new year, but well before April 15, at Kalona, if the church would once again offer to host. Those present expressed appreciation for the opportunity to connect with other war tax resisters and for the support of their acts of conscience.

    MILWAUKEE, WI
    The Milwaukee War Tax Resistance Group held their annual Boston Tea Party observance on December 13, 1997 at the federal building with a focus on the U.S. sanctions against Iraq. They passed out leaflets and held signs, encouraging passers-by to refuse to pay for the sanctions which have lead to the deaths of so many thousands in Iraq and instead to pay for relief in the form of shelter, food, clothing, and medicine. They pointed out that it was the U.S. which sold weapons and nuclear technology to Saddam Hussein in the first place, funded by taxpayers.



    PERSPECTIVE
    A SUCCESS STORY
    BY AN ANONYMOUS WTR
    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 IRS hasn't seized a penny. Recently about $8,000 passed the ten-year statute of limitations and became permanently uncollectible, so I'm claiming success!

    The method works for me because my lifestyle makes me almost uncollectible. I don't own much property (will the IRS come and tow my bicycle?). I don't have or need a credit card. I live alone and like living simply.

    But this isn't a story of how the IRS ignored me because I had no money. Twice I've inherited a sum over $100,000. Divestment from the stock market created high capital gains taxes, and I couldn't leave money in conventional investments or the IRS could have collected easily. But there's a lot to be said for sudden wealth. In my case, being "rich" has made it, paradoxically, very easy not to pay for war. I can reduce my wages below the exempt amount on a wage levy. And my investments don't need to be liquid or high-yield. For example, I've made zero-interest loans to community loan funds that help create affordable housing. This way, no information goes to the IRS.

    Recently I've set up a "gift annuity" retirement plan with a large, socially responsible organization that supports my war tax resistance. This is a terrific, little-known way to keep large sums safe from collection. The organization will accrue the money, giving neither me nor (we hope) the IRS any access to it, till I reach a certain age; then they'll pay me an annuity till I die; anything left over is theirs to keep. I even get to claim a large
    charitable-gift tax deduction right away!

    I've also given away a lot of the money outright to good causes - the ultimate way to prevent collection, if you can afford it. Now I get by, with my retirement secured, from paycheck to paycheck on the income that's exempt from my latest wage levy. For a year or two in between inheritances, the IRS actually put me on "temporarily uncollectible" status and ignored me.

    Lately I've started my own computer consulting business on the side. If it takes off, the IRS should find my next 1040s interesting. It may seem silly, when I'm this uncollectible, to tempt fate by filing the forms each year. But I find it helps me witness to law-abiding citizens when I can say I'm cooperating with the IRS in every way that doesn't violate my principles. More importantly, if I didn't file and if the IRS did find my money, they could conceivably seize many times what I owed. (Ed. Note: Even those who file can accumulate large amounts of penalties and interest. Penalties for fraud are the ones that accumulate the fastest but if a non-filer is public about their position they can avoid fraud penalties.) Finally, since I'm not likely to face serious fraud or evasion charges when I've filed legally, I feel free to do whatever it takes to prevent collection - for example, switching temporary bank accounts to change investments without a paper trail.

    Over the years the IRS has tried hard to collect my taxes. They've sent levies to quite a few places where I no longer had money - bank accounts and other conventional investments and even a trust fund. They've never levied any of my alternative investments. I've gotten plenty of Notices of Intent to Levy, public liens on my assets (my credit rating must be a disaster!), a succession of wage levies, lots of phone calls from agents, and an occasional request to call an agent or come in for a visit. I've politely cooperated with everything except paying or helping the IRS collect. The agents have ranged from mildly threatening to openly supportive of my position, once I explain it. During the last few months before the statute of limitations expired on the $8,000, I kept expecting the IRS to stop being so polite and do something serious to collect. Nothing happened.

    Well, maybe I've just been lucky all these years. But my sense is that filing 1040s and not paying can be a workable strategy even for someone who's determined to keep large sums permanently out of the war chests.

    Note: If you have questions or comments for the person writing the above article, send them to NWTRCC and we will forward them.



    About More than a Paycheck
    "More Than a Paycheck" is a publication of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), 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 sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, and environmental destruction 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.

    Hard copy subscriptions to More Than a Paycheck (6 issues per year) are available for $10 per year. Editor: Karen Marysdaughter.

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