news for those tax resisters who are using their
W-4 forms as a way of reducing withholding:
Employers will no longer be required to send copies of potentially
questionable W-4 withholding forms to the Internal
Revenue Service, the
Temporary and proposed regulations, issued today by the Treasury Department,
eliminate the requirement that employers send copies of potentially
questionable Forms W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance
Certificate, to the
The new regulations take effect on .
In the past, employers had to send to the
Form W-4 claiming more than 10 allowances or
claiming complete exemption from withholding if $200 or more in weekly wages
Forms W-4 are still subject to review by the
However, employers will no longer have to submit them to the tax agency,
unless directed to do so in a written notice to the employer or pursuant to
specified criteria set forth in future published guidance, the
developed a process to use information already reported on
Forms W-2 to more effectively identify workers with
withholding compliance problems. In some cases where a serious
under-withholding problem is found to exist for a particular employee, the
notify the employer to withhold income tax from that employee at a more
appropriate rate. The new process will also enable the
more effectively address situations in which employees fail to file a federal
income tax return.
Interesting… To review: the W-4 is that form you
typically fill out shortly after taking a job. On this form, you tell your
employer how many “allowances” you are taking — which is something like the
exemptions you’re planning to take on your 1040, but the correspondence is not
exact. Your employer uses this number to calculate how much to take out of
your paycheck each month to send to the
more allowances you claim, the less gets taken out.
So tax resisters are fond of claiming a bunch of allowances. One tax resister
claimed three billion dependents on his W-4 back in
. (If you’d like to try this game,
ask your boss or your Human Resources department for a fresh
W-4 and file a new one.)
In the past, if you were making more than about $35,000 a year, you’d have to
declare at least ten allowances in order to eliminate withholding entirely,
and this would require your employer to notify the
War Resisters League book War Tax Resistance says:
If your W-4 form is sent to the
will remain in effect until the employer hears in writing from the
instruct the employer to alter the withholding. The employer must abide by the
instructions until those instructions are revoked by the
is up to the employee to convince the
writing why she or he is entitled to additional allowances.
Understandably, some war tax resisters were not eager to attract
attention in this way. Now, it seems that will be less of a worry.
I don’t know quite what to make of the
declaration that they’ll be able to distinguish a genuine
W-4 from a tax resister’s
W-4 by looking at the W-2.
That doesn’t make much sense. I think they may be bluffing.
I raise this just about every year at this time, and it’s not a rhetorical
[W]hat if we refused? The federal government in particular is vulnerable; the
income tax system is based on voluntary compliance, and 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
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 own firing squads.
Why does virtually everybody volunteer?…
There are a few folks saying no. War tax resisters, refusing, for reasons of
conscientious objection, to fund militarism, 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
bill, make the eminently apolitical 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 are 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.
The Christian Science Monitor
people who rat tax evaders out to the
don’t often profit from their snitching.
“Some people are under the impression that if you inform on somebody you
automatically get 10 percent,” Faber says. But that’s not the case. Less than
8 percent of claims are allowed, according to the
and of those the average award is 2.74 percent of the taxes recovered.…
The number of those who actually receive rewards is also small. Of the 4,765
people who applied for a reward in , just
190 got a check.
The Phone Tax, a “temporary” tax enacted to fund the Spanish-American war,
bravely soldiers on, but not all taxes are so fortunate.
the U.S. House of Representatives voted to abolish the Estate Tax — called the “death tax” by those against it and the “Paris Hilton tax” by
those who’d rather keep it. If you’re planning on leaving several million
dollars behind when you die this may matter to you more than it does to me,
but it will keep another $290 billion out of the government’s hands over the
next decade and that makes me happy. I’d rather have Paris Hilton spending
that money than Donald Rumsfeld.
What Congress gives it can just as easily take away, and now a bipartisan
collection of congresscritters are trying to take away the power they gave to
just to outsource some of its
collections process to bounty hunters.
arrives this week and Larry
Dansinger of the Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center in Monroe wants you
to forget all about it.… April 15 for Dansinger is the glorious date he gets
to tell the
stuff it. In fact, he’s told the
stuff it . And on
, Dansinger and about a dozen
like-minded Mainers will pass out pamphlets around the state encouraging you
too to stick it to the
Dansinger recognizes that tax day may be a little late to convince people not
to pay their taxes, but he figures this is the perfect time to help new
resistors get a jump on next year.
“We want people to start thinking now about the income they are making this
year, which they can make changes in if they feel they can no longer pay for
the kind of military things that are going on right now,” says Dansinger, who
has purposefully hovered at or below the minimum income for federal taxes
($7950 annually for a single person [sic]) for years.…
“Which is more painful,” asks Dansinger, “to risk possibly dealing with the
risk the anguish of having your money used for things you don’t believe in?”
I think I’m pretty sly, slipping under the tax line on
$25k a year, but
according to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal,
there were over four thousand people who made in excess of $200,000 in
and yet owed no federal income tax that
year. I want to learn some of their tricks.
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