More than a paycheck

NWTRCC’s newsletter is out. Among the news to be found therein:

Ad copy: Foreclose on War, Invest in People: Redirect your tax dollars from war to peace. National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), P.O. Box 150553, Brooklyn, NY 11215. (718)768‒3420 (800)269‒7464. Fax: (718)768‒4388. www.nwtrcc.org

The newsletter article about frivolous filing penalties mentioned that “in after the IRS instituted the ‘frivolous’ return penalty, Karl Meyer called for a ‘cabbage patch’ response, filing a form every day for a year to defy this new policy. He was assessed $140,000 in penalties during , and in the IRS seized his station wagon in an attempt to collect on the fines. It was sold for $1,020. Karl continues staunchly to refuse to pay for war.”

Here’s how the Chicago Sun-Times covered that story back in :

Tax resister mails a protest return every day

Every afternoon, Karl Meyer sits at his old cedar desk under a sign that declares “Your tax dollars arm the world!” and fills out a federal tax form.

Where the form calls for a Social Security number, he prints, “Refused — not to be used for social insecurity purposes.”

Where it instructs “Add line 1 and line 2,” he prints, “Military Spending” and adds a summary of the Pentagon’s budget.

And where it instructs “If line 8 is larger than line 9, subtract line 9 from line 8,” he prints, “I refuse to pay federal income taxes that sustain military violence in Central America and all over the world.”

Meyer, a 48-year-old Chicago carpenter, mails one such protest to the IRS each day. He never includes a check

He is one of about 76,000 Americans who will refuse this year to pay part or all of their federal income taxes. Some say taxes are unconstitutional. Some don’t have the money. And some, like Meyer, believe federal tax dollars are doing more harm than good.

“If people want us to contribute to the common good by way of paying taxes, they’ll have to find some way we can contribute without paying for the military system,” he said.

Meyer’s words are not the self-serving rhetoric of a skinflint. His 25-year history of regular jail terms for acts of civil disobedience attests to the strength of his convictions.

In , after graduating from the University of Chicago, he was arrested and jailed 38 days for passing out anti-tax leaflets. Months later, he joined a 4,000-mile peace march to Moscow’s Red Square.

In , he tore up his draft card and mailed the pieces to then-U.S. Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan. And in , he served nine months in federal prison for filing false tax returns to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Since , Meyer has filed more than 54 federal tax returns — one for each day’s average earnings of $38. The Internal Revenue Service has responded by fining him $6,000 for filing “frivolous” returns.

His wife, Kathy Kelly, a high school teacher in Chicago, also refuses to pay taxes. Instead, he said, she accepts only $8,000 of her annual $18,000 salary and tells her employer to donate the rest to charity.

Meyer, who says he has earned between $13,000 and $18,000 annually , claims the IRS has managed to collect only $168 from him . He has quit jobs and moved bank accounts to prevent further collections.

Michael McGrail, an IRS tax specialist, could not verify this claim, but confirmed that Meyer has been fined and jailed repeatedly for tax evasion.

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