War Tax Resister Geov Parrish

Geov Parrish feels the coming of and with it, time to remind people to stop paying taxes:

The IRS — though fearsome in its media-assisted reputation — is essentially a very large, and not always very efficient, collection agency. People laugh off collection agency bills simply because they don’t want to (or can’t) pay, but quake in terror of the IRS when the money isn’t just going to a private business — it’s going, in large quantities, to an institution now dedicated at the highest levels to enriching its patrons even if it means killing you. We are volunteering to buy the bullets for our firing squads.…

There are a few folks saying no. War tax resisters, refusing, for reasons of conscientious objection, to fund militarism, and often redirecting their money to socially useful programs instead, have been painfully aware for years of how much of our tax money goes to killing. Others refuse for libertarian reasons. A larger number choose to live under the taxable income, and still more folks, when forced to choose between enough food to feed the family in April and paying the IRS bill, make the eminently political decision to forego hunger. As usual this year, there will be small groups of folks leafleting or protesting at post offices around the country. You’d think there’d be millions.

Resisting taxes has risks. It can be done symbolically, withholding a small amount here or there; it can be done with an expectation of ultimately paying more in interest and penalties, the extra cost of refusing to cooperate willingly; or it can require major life changes to find tax-free employment and become uncollectable. It can be a nuisance, or it can complicate one’s life immensely, or it can force a complete reexamination of why we work and where we want our time and labor to go.

Nobody should undertake tax resistance without understanding the risks. But there’s also risks involved in passively cooperating with our own fleecing, or our own demise. And it’s simply amazing that more of us don’t look closely at which risk is greater.


was my last day of VITA this year, and, for those of you keeping score at home, I helped 17 taxpayers take $20,404 back from the U.S. Treasury.


Hard to believe, but every year a few deluded souls send in extra money with their tax forms because they feel bad about the national debt. Last year, 48 people volunteered a total of $21,179 above and beyond what their tax forms said they owed.

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