War Tax Resistance in the Friends Journal in 1973

War tax resistance in the Friends Journal in

Quaker war tax resistance methods and theories diversified and became more developed, as can be seen from the pages of the Friends Journal of .

One thing that stood in the way of some Quakers (and some Quaker organizations) adopting war tax resistance was a bias toward being law-abiding, and a worry that civil disobedience might be one step too far on a slippery slope to anarchy. In the issue, lawyer (and Quaker) Allen S. Olmsted Ⅱ tried to remove this impediment:

Those who in sweeping terms condemn all law breaking seldom stop to inquire what the law actually is and who declares it. Is the policeman or the draft board or the tax collector the law? All of these have been reversed by the Courts time and again. Is the demonstrator who defies a police ban, a draft resister who refuses to shoulder a rifle, or a citizen who refuses to pay war taxes, ipso facto a law breaker? These citizens seek to vindicate their lawfulness, i.e. their loyalty to the Constitution, by breaking and then appealing the “law” which the lowest echelon of authority is seeking to enforce.

Perhaps the feature of the war resister’s mind which most clearly differentiates him from other law defiers is his complete loyalty to the spirit, as distinguished from the letter, of the law. This is most evident in his reaction to the tax laws. The spirit of the tax laws is, as some of us see it, that the government must go on and all of us should share the expense thereof according to our means.

Let us take the example of a retired school teacher, or minister whose income is somewhat over the exemption and deductibles. His income tax is, say, $100. He advises the tax collector that since 70 percent of the government’s income is used to prosecute an unjust war he is refusing to pay 70 percent of his tax and encloses his check for $30. He has defied the law and in due course the government will clamp down on his bank account and collect the $70 plus penalties.

Now take the example of the man with an income of $100,000, some of which is gained in selling war supplies to the government. Does he feel that in the spirit of the law he should contribute his fair share to the support of the government from which he has profited so handsomely? Merely to ask the question seems to most people quixotic, naive and bizarre. Our wealthy tax avoider employs a man learned in the letter of the law to show him how he may avoid any taxes whatever. As long as he keeps within the letter of the law he may pound his chest and say “What a smart boy am I.”

The difference between the tax refuser and the tax avoider is twofold: (1) The first violates the letter of the law, the second does not. (2) The first is motivated by the love of his country, his brothers, and his God; the other by the love of himself and his money.

Those who break unjust laws because they are unjust and not for personal profit or convenience, who do so in a humble spirit of submission to the moral law and without breaking the peace, are moving not toward anarchy but away from it. In the name of all that is holy — and I do mean holy — let us stop calling the nonviolent conscientious law resisters breeders of anarchy.

Immediately following that piece was a poem by Raymond Paavo Arvio that began “I am one with the tax refusers, / The long beards, the jail birds / … / The pacifists / The anarchists”.

And immediately after that was an article by Mary Timberlake that considered Quaker meetings and Quaker action to be the necessary one-two punch of Quaker practice:

I learn that 60 percent of all income taxes go to the military. I must refuse to pay that when my income becomes taxable. Ten percent of the phone bill is a federal excise tax, an appropriation approved by Congress in solely to provide additional funds for our operation in Vietnam (so reads the Congressional Record). I have a telephone. My meeting has a telephone. Dear Friends, the dollars the government collects from us in this way fall as napalm in Vietnam. I must refuse to pay all war taxes, urge you to refuse, take my personal funds out of banks so the government cannot get the money by placing a lien on my account; support instead an alternative fund — to send medical aid to North and South Vietnam, to rechannel this money into my own community where it is needed so desperately; to continue this effort after the war ends in Indochina, because what is the sense of winning the arms race and losing the human race? I do not want to go to prison. but more I don’t want a Vietnamese person or my American brother in uniform (his name is Billy) to die because of a bullet I bought.

The issue opened with a report about a creative action by Peace Investors of Eugene (PIE):

“More Pie for the People, Less for War” is the slogan of a fast-growing alternative fund begun by tax resisters in Eugene, Oregon. Called Peace Investors of Eugene (PIE), the fund is aimed at redistributing refused tax money to meet human needs by helping to finance a day care center, a free clinic, a crisis switchboard, and a half-way house. the founders of the fund, including members and attenders of Eugene Meeting, handed small slivers of pumpkin pie to persons entering the state employment building and explained, “Sorry we can’t give you more, but the rest goes to the military.” 64 percent of each pie was handed to a person representing the military, and these large pieces were later distributed to local armed forces recruiters. Other creative actions by tax resisters involved in PIE include providing a peace-oriented tax consultant service and posting notices at places where 1040 forms are distributed advising people of the proportion of the federal budget assigned to war-making. At the IRS where such notices were prohibited three of the group stamped directly on the forms the phrase, “Warning: more than half of your taxes go for war.” Charles Gray of PIE says the group has grown not only through such actions, but also through their cooperative relationship with people in the community service groups to whom money has been given. “We feel that in a small way, the war machine has been replaced by new and more loving social priorities.”

The issue opened with “Some Friendly Tax Tips” from Meg Dickinson. Excerpts:

Fortunately for us there has been a dramatic change in tax resistance. The IRS itself has revised its forms to permit resistance without “falsifying” records, i.e. claiming more dependents than actually exist, a practice that even when done quite openly (with accompanying letters) left something to be desired.

For many… the essential question continues to be how to refuse much larger amounts, so that we are not only protesting but actually removing our taxes from the syndrome of destruction our government seems committed to. How can we not only protest, but stop paying for, stop buying war? This is where IRS’s revised W-4 helps.

For wage earners it is always possible to submit a new W-4 to the employer. The revised one does not even mention the word “dependents.” Instead it asks how many allowances you claim. “Allowances” is not defined, but is used to indicate dependents, special conditions such as blindness, and also amounts of anticipated itemized deductions. If you decide you will itemize your deductions and claim a peace deduction for the amount that might otherwise go to military expenditures, you simply add these allowances to those you have taken for family members, etc. On the form you give your employer you enter only the total.

Another part of the IRS revision changes the statement you must sign. No longer does one “under the penalties of perjury” certify that the number is correct. Instead one certifies “to the best of my knowledge and belief” that the number is right.

To figure how many allowances to claim, divide your annual salary by $750. This gives you the total number of allowances in your salary. You then add the number of allowances you have for family members, etc., to the number of allowances that correspond to the percentage of the remainder that you want to refuse. With $15,000 salary you have 20 allowances. If with a family of four (4) you wish to refuse 66 percent, subtract 4 from 20 (16 allowances left) and take 66 percent of 16 (13 allowances). Adding 13 to 4, you take 17 allowances.…

This brings up the question of what to tell your employer. Obviously individual decisions vary from complete candor to no discussion at all. IRS regulations are clear in making the wage earner, not the employer, responsible for the accuracy of the W-4.

One thing that should be understood is that if you take allowances for anticipated peace deductions (or Gandhian deductions or Woolman witnesses or name your own) you are committing yourself to filling out the regular 1040 Form the following April. Unless you have this intention you are misrepresenting your allowances on the W-4. Prosecution seems unlikely, according to tax resistance lawyers, but is a possibility. IRS has strengthened our claim of legality by actually returning money to surprising numbers of persons claiming war crimes deductions. There are even instances of individuals receiving refunds two years in a row.

A frequent question from those who have given tax refusal some thought concerns IRS’s collection. Doesn’t the government always get the money? Many who refused the phone tax found it was taken from their bank accounts (with hefty bank charges added sometimes) and felt too little had been accomplished by the action. The change in this situation lies not with IRS but with the development of creative ways to use the refused funds. Alternative funds have proliferated over the country, some giving the interest from the accounts to worthwhile projects, some using the whole amount to offer short-term loans to peace and community-oriented groups. The Philadelphia People’s Bail Fund is in large part using refused taxes for their contingency fund.

Collection can be delayed through a series of routine conferences, usually a total of four or five in a period of a couple years. These not only allow dialog with IRS people but keep your funds in the service of peace longer. The culmination of these can be a petitioning of tax court in your own behalf, thus contesting the constitutionality of various factors involved in taxes and military power.

Tax Resistance may seem complicated, but it is really a very simple concept: finding the ways you support war and removing them from your life. It is hard indeed to live in such a way as to take away the occasion for all war, but harder still to do it while helping to pay for the Pentagon’s program.

Robert Schultz responded to this with a letter-to-the-editor in the issue in which he wrote that he thought it was folly to try to only resist a certain percentage of the tax or a certain “war tax” (since all the money you give to the government is fungible), and also questioned whether Dickinson’s approach might be “un-Quakerly.” Excerpts:

[T]he encouragement to resort to subterfuges, claiming that you are entitled to certain deductions or allowances according to your particular religious or ideological scruples… does not seem quite honest to me…. I would prefer to come out in the clear and say frankly that I am not paying what the law requires me to pay because I do not approve of either the way, the means, or the end of the payments. Frankly, I believe that the recommendations suggested, if followed to their logical conclusion, are pointing directly to anarchy and chaos. Government has to function, and for an individual to take upon himself the responsibility of determining what that functioning should include strikes me as being a bit of arrogance.

I respect the Quakerly concern in regard to war. But I would rather further it by complete simplicity of living, a renunciation of all unnecessary income (following the example of John Woolman), a discriminating selection of all I consume or the services I use, and a careful examination of all sources of my income.

Also, one should avoid using any article or service upon which a Federal excise tax is levied. To do otherwise is to negate all one thinks one gains by withholding Federal taxes directly and raises the question of the sincerity of one’s convictions.

Dickinson was also mentioned in the issue, concerning a Tax Court filing in which she was trying to get the government “to return taxes taken from her during .”

She has contributed amounts, comparable to those refused, to organizations she believes would use the money responsibly. She charges that payment of these taxes makes her an accomplice in war-making and is against her right of religious freedom.

The issue also opened with tales of tax resistance:

“Common Sense” is the name of a storefront tax consulting service set up this spring by members of the Roxbury Alternative Fund. This group of Boston area tax resisters drew on the expertise of trained tax accountants to provide two services: counseling for tax resisters and aid to anyone in preparing tax forms. The project ran . Clients often were poor or working class people. Many were helped to avoid tax overpayments, and a large degree of friendly communication was established. Members of Cambridge Meeting started the Roxbury Fund, and several participated in Common Sense.

On the North Columbus (Ohio) Friends Meeting decided to discontinue its telephone service “as the only course on which we are able to unite in meeting the dilemma of the payment or non-payment of the telephone tax.” For the previous two years, the Meeting had been unable to reach a consensus on phone tax resitance.

The issue of the Journal announced that “Young Friends of North America” was making available an “informational packet on Friends and War Taxes, including practical suggestions for the Friend troubled over taxation for war” called Who Buys the Guns?

The Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association met in . According to a Journal report on the gathering, “[f]riends were sobered by a call to be present at the trial of a Durham, NC, Friend for refusal to pay income tax for war purposes.”

In the issue, Marion Dobbert and Jeannette Marquardt proposed what they called “Legal Resistance to War Tax”:

DeKalb, Illinois, Friends have developed a stop-gap measure for resistance to payment of war taxes. We suggest that all Friends wishing to protest war taxes in a legal manner file form 843 with the IRS for the return of that portion of their taxes which they calculate to be war-related. This form is used to file for the return of already paid taxes which have been “illegally, erroneously or excessively collected.” Friends should find it easy to claim that collecting taxes to be used for the making of war is as much a violation of their freedom of religion as would be required military service, since both service and tax money involve the individual in the taking of human lives.

The completed Form 843 is sent to the same office where you filed your Form 1040 for the year in question. The commissioner for that office then has six months to rule on the validity of your claim. If your request to have the war tax portion of your income tax returned is denied, you may appeal within the IRS, or take your case to the proper district court. In either case, you will need a lawyer.

Each individual can make his filing of Form 843 more effective by sending a letter with the form explaining that you are protesting war taxes, and why. A copy of this letter should be sent to each senator and representative, along with a covering letter asking for a change in the law to provide an alternative for conscientious objectors who wish to channel their tax money into projects other than military.

DeKalb Friends Meeting has created a committee on Legal Resistance to War Taxes to collect the names of interested individuals, keep them informed on what is happening, what they might do to help, and co-ordinate the efforts of groups throughout the nation. Eventually, we hope to find lawyers who will help us appeal adverse rulings on our Form 843 claims, both within the IRS system and in the courts. Anyone wishing to join in our work may sign the following and send it to: Legal Resistance to War Tax, c/o Dan and Marion Dobbert, 327 River Drive, DeKalb, Illinois 60115.


I am conscientiously opposed to war and must in conscience refuse to pay war taxes. I will therefore take the legal means open to me to avoid paying such taxes. As one step to this end. I join with like-minded people in the Legal Resistance to War Taxes and seek a provision in the tax laws for conscientious objectors.

Signed…

Ernest & Marion Bromley

Ernest Bromley had been resisting the federal income tax since . Here are some excerpts from a newspaper article on Bromley, whom it identified as “a Methodist minister”:

Draft For Back in News

Rev. Bromley Leads Anti-Tax Fight

Forty-three pacifists throughout the country, led by the Rev. Ernest Bromley, who created a stir in Nassau when in a sermon he advised young men not to register for the draft, declared today they would refuse to pay federal income taxes this year as a “civil disobedience” protest against the government’s military expenditures.” [sic.]

A tax refusal committee of Peacemakers, pacifist organization with headquarters in New York City, announced the stand for 41 of the group. The Rev. Mr. Bromley now of Wilmington, Ohio, is chairman of the committee. Another list was issued at the same time by Walter G. Longstreth, Philadelphia lawyer, which included 11 names, all but two of which were contained in the Peacemakers’ statement.

…He has refused to pay taxes before.

The 25 men and 16 women of the Peacemakers group declared in a statement they were “determined upon a course of civil disobedience” being “unwilling to contribute to preparations for war.”

“We plead with our fellow citizens of the United States to join us in acting for peace by refusing to manufacture weapons of war, refusing to serve in the armed forces, and refusing to finance war preparations,” the statement said.

The committee said some would pay no part of their tax, since they maintain the major activity of the federal government is war, with 80 per cent of the national budget devoted to “past, present and future wars.” Others will refuse to pay that percentage of their tax wich corresponds with the percentage which the government spends for military preparations. Some of the refusers are Quakers, while others are members of various other Christian and Jewish denominations and some follow a humanist philosophy.

In Albany. Walter R. Sturr, collector of internal revenue, said imprisonment of the group is unlikely since fraud probably would not be involved. He said the government would probably move against the group as against others owing tax money and could, as a last resort, seize property or bank accounts.

On the peacemakers’ list is Robert C. Friend, formerly a Unitarian religious education director in Schenectady, who moved to Los Angeles last summer where he is engaged in the same kind of work.

Bromley’s stand didn’t make the pages of the Friends Journal until 1973. In the issue was this note:

Do peace activists have any responsibility for federal income taxes on monies paid through a sharing fund to families whose wage-earners were in prison for draft and war resistance? This and other important questions are involved in a case brought by the Internal Revenue Service against Marion Bromley, a Cincinnati Quaker, and Ernest Bromley. The IRS has assessed the Bromleys $9,000 and Gano Peacemakers, Inc., which owns the home where they live, $21,000. This assessment is based on an IRS contention that the Peacemaker movement is synonymous with Gano Peacemakers, Inc., and that everyone who received checks from the Peacemaker Fund were actually employees of Gano Peacemakers and that therefore income tax, Social Security and other monies should have been withheld from the payments. The IRS, however, has been informed by many persons that there is a clear distinction between Gano Peacemakers, Inc., and other Peacemaker activities and organizations. Members also insist that recipients of aid from the sharing fund were not employees.

The Bromleys and Gano Peacemakers, Inc., are unwilling to cooperate with IRS in its attempt to collect thousands of dollars, mostly for war uses. They are also unwilling to cooperate with such total misrepresentation. Ernest Bromley points out that “the spirit and focus of any action should not be on the protection of property or personal security, but rather on continuing to deny money to a war-making government and to encourage tax refusal.” If any steps are taken toward seizure of assets or property of The Peacemaker or Gano Peacemakers, Inc., a campaign of public education, direct action and publicity will begin in the Cincinnati area.

In the , the Journal published a follow-up on the case, with an interesting editor’s note attached (note also that Ernest Bromley is now also identified as a Quaker), written by Journal editor James D. Lenhart:

Pacifism and the IRS

“The position of the pacifist is unbearable if he (or she) does not undertake intense, practical action of his (or her) own… We need the firm rock of well-directed action if we are to resist the terrible drift dragging us towards reactions of fear, hatred, and violence.”

Pierre Ceresole

With post-Watergate disclosures of apparently illegal activities by officials of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Internal Revenue Service vying for space in national news media with statements by Pentagon spokesmen who are beating the drums for increased military spending in general and continued support for South Vietnam’s President Thieu in particular, the following news from Cincinnati of “intense, practical action” and its consequences probably will not receive very much attention anywhere else. So we decided to print it here.

Two acres and a house in Gano, twenty miles north of Cincinnati, were purchased by a small group of pacifists in . In they formed a nonprofit corporation, Gano Peacemakers, Inc. and within eight years had paid off the mortgage on the property. Meanwhile, Ernest Bromley, a Quaker, had become editor of The Peacemaker, a small newspaper that promotes and publicizes nonviolence. In , the publishing address was moved to the Gano residence but the records, funds and operations of the corporation and the newspaper were kept entirely separate. They still are separate.

Between a sharing fund administered through the newspaper received money from those opposed to the Vietnam war who wanted to help support dependents of imprisoned war objectors. Monthly checks were issued to the dependents, most of whom were mothers of young children. Other expenditures were exclusively for the newspaper and other literature about nonviolence. There was no paid staff and all work was done without pay.

Ernest Bromley and his wife; Marion, have refused to pay income taxes for many years as a form of witness to the peace testimony. It is their claim that the money contributed to the sharing fund was not taxable and that even if it were, the Internal Revenue Service would have to take action against the newspaper. Instead, IRS made an assessment of almost $25,000 against Gano Peacemakers, Inc. and on two IRS agents posted notices of seizure on the front and back doors of the Gano house where the Bromleys live.

The Bromleys have openly and consistently stated their refusal to pay taxes for war. In fact, they do not favor going to court to protect their rights but instead rely on personal witness and public disclosures of the abuse of power. Ironically, while the Bromleys were taking and proclaiming their stand, the IRS’s recently revealed “Special Services Staff” was secretly investigating organizations and individuals opposed to United States policies in Southeast Asia. Its audit of The Peacemaker newspaper began during this same period.

This is what Ernest and Marion Bromley have to say.

“Writing on the day after IRS posted a notice of seizure on the house here in Gano, we wanted to let you know how we were feeling about the threatened sale.

“Of course we would hate to see such a horrendous sum as nearly $25,000 collected by the government for the budget which is so preponderantly spent for weapons, death and destruction. Since we feel so strongly about that, it seems to us that this is a good time to have attention focused on refusal to pay taxes for war. There aren’t many other ways people in this country can make meaningful protest about the proposed additional appropriations for Saigon and Phnom Penh, for example.

“If we had been under any illusions about the justice and ‘lawfulness’ of this system and this government, it might be quite shocking to see IRS proceed to seize property on the basis of an entirely false tax claim. There is no basis whatever for a claim against Gano Peacemakers, Inc. — and IRS knows this. But we have realized for a long time that governments do not dispense justice — they wield power.

“…we feel the same as we did in the beginning about noncooperation with IRS. Even though this claim is a very false one, we still feel that the witness is being made.

“We want to call attention to the actions of IRS in any way we can, and others may think of ways to do that.”

We invite readers to suggest ways. Meanwhile, you can write or send telegrams to either or both the District Director of IRS and the Regional Commissioner of IRS, Federal Office Building, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. And you can inform others of your actions and urge them to express their opinions, too. Painful as it might be to law-abiding Friends, you also could consider refusing to pay taxes yourself. You certainly would be in good, even Friendly, company.

There was a further follow-up in the issue:

Ernest Bromley, a Cincinnati Friend, continues to witness to the whole truth of the Quaker Peace Testimony by refusing to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service and by steadfastly proclaiming that payment of taxes to support a budget that spends billions for military purposes is wrong. And he continues to feel the weight of the cross he is bearing.

The IRS moved to seize his and Marion Bromley’s home… on . On Ernest began distributing leaflets outside the Federal Office Building in downtown Cincinnati. The leaflets simply and clearly stated the facts as the Bromleys and others saw them, and clearly and simply pointed out that more than half of the federal budget will be spent for war or war-related purposes. On he was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing official business. While being transported to jail he received a two-inch cut on his head which officials could not explain. These charges were subsequently dismissed.

In this entire process Ernest Bromley has refused to recognize any authority of the IRS or the courts over himself. While he was in jail he fasted totally. When he is physically able, he intends to resume his witness.

The Executive Committee of Friends General Conference, meeting in Cincinnati , adopted a minute expressing general agreement that the arrest and charges are unjustified and supporting “these acts of conscience by Ernest Bromley and others that issue from leadings of the Spirit. Individual members of the Committee were encouraged to take specific actions in support of Ernest Bromley and Peacemakers.” These actions could include messages to the District Director of IRS and the Regional Commissioner of IRS

The following illustration comes from the issue:

Signs of the Times

On this house near Cincinnati hang two signs. One is a notice of seizure placed there by the Internal Revenue Service. The other sign, written by Josephine Johnson Cannon and placed on the house by members of Community Monthly Meeting in Cincinnati, supports Ernest and Marion Bromley’s refusal to pay taxes as a modern witness to the Quaker peace testimony. The second sign reads as follows:

Historical Home of the Gano Peacemakers

“This house has sheltered a group of people who live by an extraordinary and unusual code of ethics. It has been owned by people who do not condone killing, who do not kill, and who do not support killing with their lives or money.

“The Gano Peacemakers believe in equality, and brotherhood, and practice equality and brotherhood. They believe in the conservation of natural resources and a simplicity of life, and they practice the conservation of resources and they live a simple and productive life. They believe in sharing and they share. They believe in the principles and essence of the religions of the world, and they practice these principles.

“This house has a unique significance and should be preserved as a rare historic site for future generations to look upon as a beacon and guidepost for the building of a better way of life.”

As you may remember from earlier Picket Line posts on the Bromleys, the story has a happy ending. Here is how the Journal put it in its issue:

A verbal commitment was received on , from IRS Commissioner Donald Alexander and IRS Cincinnati District Director Dwight James that the Bromley/Gano Peacemaker House will be returned! Peacemakers presented IRS officials with a detailed analysis of IRS files and actions pointing out that the bases for the confiscation of the Bromley home were shot through with political biases, faulty logic, and lacks of evidence. At a meeting with Peacemakers that afternoon, IRS officials revealed their decision to return the property: “We realized that IRS was in a no-win situation and decided to do what was right.” Legal technicalities, however, are still being worked out.

Despite this cause for celebration, it must be kept in mind that little has changed: taxation for warmaking goes on, the production and development of weapons grows daily funded by our tax dollars, 11,000 persons and organizations remain on the secret IRS enemies list. Again, Friends are urged to take action to stop tax funding of war and to promote the development of a peaceful and loving world community.

And a follow-up to that came in the issue:

While Marion Bromley and her husband, Ernest, were struggling against the Internal Revenue Service’s illegal seizure of their home in Cincinnati, Marion wrote, “We appreciate the expressions of concern for us personally, and if we are unable to prevent sale of the house we will have to turn to the question of where we would relocate. But our energies now are directed to exposing the arrogant power methods the IRS revealed in dealing with Peacemakers, and in urging the people who learn of this to take some responsibility for their own support of a government which seems to be permanently locking the people into a war system… We think if enough public clamor is raised about the wholly fraudulent actions of IRS in the matter of seizure of the property of Gano Peacemakers it might cause IRS to remove the lien [Ed. It did.] and more important, it would serve the larger purpose of educating the public about the methods of the warfare state.” [Ed. Did it?]

The next mention of the Bromleys’s tax resistance that I found was, alas, in an obituary notice for Ernest Bromley in the issue. Excerpts:

In , Ernest was arrested for not paying an automobile tax, the proceeds of which would have gone to help pay for the expense of World War Ⅱ.… Throughout Ernest worked with other Peacemakers on local and national political issues, including integration, opposition to nuclear weapons testing, and war tax refusal.… In the Internal Revenue Service attempted to take their house away. Their resistance to this effort brought them to the attention of President Richard Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell. Ultimately, they were able to keep the house because it belonged to the land trust. During , despite failing eyesight, Ernest continued to correspond with peace activists and war tax refusers throughout the country.… In his last years, Ernest… maintained his communication with tax refusers, continuing his life-long radical pursuit of peace and justice.

Lyle & Sue Snider

Another case whose coverage began in was that of Lyle Snider. The issue gave this report:

Lyle Snider, clerk of Durham Meeting and teacher at Carolina Friends School, was arraigned for “willfully filing a false and fraudulent withholding statement.” He had filed a W-4 form in claiming 3 billion dependents — approximately one for every person on earth. Lyle’s reasoning: “At least half of our tax money will be spent on the instruments of war. Every person on earth depends on someone in this country to say ‘no’ to the military and to raise a voice to protest militarism.” Both Durham Meeting and the school have passed minutes in support of Lyle’s action. He faces up to one year of prison.

The issue gave this follow-up:

Tax resister Lyle Snider was tried in Greensboro, NC, for willfully filing a false and fraudulent W-4 form…. Over 80 supporters of Lyle and his wife, Sue, including students and staff from Carolina Friends School and Quakers from several North Carolina meetings, gathered at a pretrial celebration and at the court itself. Despite conflicts with the court system (Lyle was cited 16 times and Sue once for contempt because of refusal to stand for the judge), Lyle reports, “Sue and I and other supporting witnesses were able to communicate extensively and powerfully on the spiritual nature of our war tax resistance.” The jury required over a day of deliberation to find Lyle guilty. He was sentenced to 8 months for tax resistance and 30 days for contempt of court, and Sue was given 10 days for contempt. All sentences are being appealed.

Lyle writes of the trial experience: “We created a presence of love in and around the courtroom… fused with a strong and unequivocal witness for peace and nonviolence. Many people felt that the trial… had changed their lives in a very significant way… The suffering of the Indochinese people is still very much with us in our thoughts and prayers. We continue to search for ways of expressing our love and compassion for these people.”

The Sniders were back in the pages of the issue:

North Carolina Friends Lyle and Sue Snider have been acquitted by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals of charges stemming from Lyle’s claim of three billion dependents in order to avoid paying war taxes. The court found that Lyle had engaged in “hyperbole,” not willful fraud, that he was exercising his right of free speech, and that persons may choose not to stand for a judge without being guilty of contempt. Last summer Lyle was sentenced to nine months in jail after a trial attended by some 80 supporters of the Quaker couple.

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