War Tax Resister Irwin Hogenauer

From the Spokane Daily Chronicle:

Tax Protest Techniques Told

Military expenditures take up 53 percent of the national budget, “a disproportionate amount,” but there are ways to protest it, Irwin Hogenauer, a war tax resistance counselor, said here .

“Resistance can take two directions: Personal, by not paying taxes to carry out your convictions, disengaging yourself from the production of war material; and public, making it a political effort to raise the social consciousness of others,” Hogenauer said in an interview.

Some methods of tax resistance are legal and others are not, he added. One that is legal is to file a return with a letter of protest, saying the money is being paid under duress, he said.

“Let your employer and your friends know how you feel,” Hogenauer said. “But the government still gets the money. That’s one of the difficulties.”

Hogenauer, 66, has been a volunteer war tax resistance counselor in Seattle for 30 years. Before he retired four years ago he said he showed his resistance to use of tax money for war materials by refusing to file a yearly tax return.

He was never prosecuted, Hogenauer said, although from time to time an Internal Revenue Service employee would appear at his door.

“But that’s not unusual,” he said. “Thousands of people across the nation don’t file a tax return and there are no efforts at prosecution of most of them. It is selective and hit-and-miss.”

Hogenauer is in Spokane today to lead a “Personal Responses to War Taxes Workshop” sponsored by the Spokane Fellowship of Reconciliation.

He said he was one of about a half dozen conscientious objectors during World War Ⅱ who formed a tax refusal committee.

He said there is no way of knowing how many people refuse to pay income tax, but said the number is increasing.

Hogenauer cautioned that there is always the potential for prosecution and incarceration of war tax resisters. The IRS can get the tax payments and penalties from bank accounts, wages and seizure of property.

“But even for refusal to pay the telephone tax, the amount is so small, say $12 a year, that it would cost the government a minimum of $50 or more to begin to collect it.”

He said he advocates total disarmament of the United States, and unilateral disarmament of the rest of the world [sic].

Asked if he would approve of disarmament if the United States were the only country to go through with it, Hogenauer said:

“That’s fine. It’s about time some country take the lead. The strongest need to do it because the weakest won’t.”

Hogenauer was among that group of World War Ⅱ conscientious objectors who qualified for civilian work camps but then soured on the idea and decided that they could not accept being conscripted even into civilian work tangentially-related to the war effort. He went AWOL from his civilian work camp and ended up doing 10 months of a two year sentence in prison.

Here’s a second article on Hogenauer’s resistance, from :

No tax woes — he just doesn’t file

Irwin Hogenauer doesn’t fret or fume as tax deadline nears. The 70-year-old Quaker and war protester just keeps doing what he’s done  — refuse to pay.

To protest spending taxes on the military, Hogenauer hasn’t filed a tax return for 35 years.

“I’ve lived a life of principle and I’ll continue to stand by it,” he says.

Occasionally, the Internal Revenue Service checks up on him.

“Once they came to my door and asked me to sit down with them and fill out a form,” he says. “I told them I wasn’t interested.”

Another time, he had a chat with an IRS official in Tacoma, who said “he would be sure my papers would come across his desk and I’d be hearing from him. I never heard a single thing from him,” says Hogenauer.

He is one of a small but committed group of people who resist paying income tax because of moral objection to war.

Few, however, are so extreme. Most file proper 1040 forms and, like Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle, withhold a port of their tax equivalent to the budget’s percentage of military spending. Others wind up paying when the IRS closes in.

But Hogenauer feels that even filing a return cooperates “with the sytem of war.”

Why hasn’t the IRS grabbed him?

One reason is that his income usually hasn’t been taxable. Hogenauer, who is retired, has held a variety of jobs, including milk truck driver, bowling alley attendant, school janitor, children’s program director, carpenter, and YMCA executive secretary.

“People who are conscientious objectors often mold their lifestyles so they don’t have any taxes to pay,” said Helen Provost-Kees, IRS spokeswoman.

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