End the War. Stop Paying for it. Presented by Berkeley, CA Religious Society of Friends & PlanetShifter.com Magazine
WAR TAX RESISTANCE: End the War. Stop Paying for it.

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Isn't it wrong to break the law?
Not if the law is wrong or unjust or cruel or against God's laws. The classic example is the laws which protected slavery.

Will I go to jail if I don't pay?
No. Only if you give false information or conceal information can the IRS prosecute you, and only if you are convicted by a court can you go to jail. On refusals based on conscience, the tax courts have consistently held that a person may not be imprisoned solely for refusal to pay. It's also true that the IRS may not take the tools of your trade nor all of your income.

What is the difference between a tax evader and a war tax resister?
A tax evader tries to deceive the IRS into thinking that he owes less than he really owes. A tax refuser refuses to pay taxes for reasons of conscience but does not falsify information or try to conceal income.

What if my paycheck is garnished? Will I lose my job?
You cannot be fired or laid off solely because your paycheck has been garnished. It is usually better, however, to let your employer know if you are being garnished because of refusal to pay as a matter of conscience.

Will my bank account be tapped?
The IRS has the authority to go to court for a lien against your account, or for an order for the bank to pay, but they must send you a Notice of Intent to File a Lien first, and they must be able to find out your account number. There is no way you can keep the IRS from learning your account number. Some refusers put the money into an escrow account which they can retrieve when the IRS takes money out of their own account, but that is merely deferring payment.

Couldn't they take my house or car?
The IRS has been known to seize automobiles or houses and put them up for auction, but even then they almost never obtain the amount of the lien from the sale. So they almost never try that anymore. The last case that i know of was in 1980, and since they only received $1500 for a $50,000 lien, you can see why they wouldn't want to do that very often.

Will I be audited by the IRS?
They will audit you if they think your return is not truthful, but i do not know of any tax refuser who has been audited solely for refusal to pay.

Is there still a phone tax?
i am not aware of any tax on telephone service which is for the purposes of war.

What if they seize money from my IRA? I need that money for retirement!
As far as I have heard, the IRS has never attached an IRA account.

I believe in taxes that support education, health, and human services.
Various agencies give different percentages for the amount of your taxes that goes for the military. The GAO gives the figure of 48%. Whatever figure you accept, you can refuse to pay that portion but pay the rest.

I wish I could specify where my tax money would be spent. Whatever happened to the Peace Tax Fund?
The Peace Tax Fund, HR 1233, has been on the floor of Congress for a long time.

What's the point of holding back half my taxes if the government will spend half of what i do pay on war anyway?
The point you make is that you are distressed about war as an instrument of foreign policy, and you are willing to withhold your money from the government because of that distress, but you always need to write a letter explaining your refusal to one or more elected officials.

What's the point if the IRS will eventually get your money anyway, with penalties and interest as well?
The point is that you are showing that you not willing to pay for war voluntarily, and also that you are prepared to commit civil disobedience rather than to allow your money to be spent on war.

What can some IRS clerk do about it, anyway?
The IRS is only interested in collecting your money. You can argue yourself blue in the face about religious principles and love of enemies, but they just shrug it off because they only want to get you to pay the taxes. That's why you need to write letters to public officials and newspapers as well.

How can I resist? I never owe the government anything.
You can increase the number of exemptions on your W-4, so that less will be taken out of your check, and you can refuse to pay that at income tax time. The IRS code does not require employers to report if the number of exemptions claimed is under 10, so don't claim some excessively large number.

Depending on your commitment, you can reduce your income so that you don't owe any taxes, or you can become self-employed so that nothing has been taken out even if you do owe taxes. It's too complicated and the outcome is too uncertain. Remember that no income tax refuser who reported honestly but merely refused to pay, and wrote letters which publicized their witness, has ever been prosecuted by the IRS, so that there are now many people who have had experience in this kind of protest against war. War is so dreadful, such a blight on humanity's name that we all need to be willing to stand up and say, In God's name.

How can I get more information?
More information is available at two websites:

Answers by Miriam Berg, berkmm[at]earthlink.net

Berkeley Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends