“We’re all war-tax resisters. We do it in different ways,” said
ACOMT member Susan Van Haitsma. Resisting taxation
, she intentionally lives below
the taxable income level. “Others in the group are self-employed. There are
people who file, people who don’t.” The small organization, counting
teachers, doctors, and veterans amongst its ranks, was successful
in organizing the Austin Taxpayers for
Peace action, where protesters withheld $10.40 from their
1040 tax payments. On
, the resulting $2,600 was split
between Nonmilitary Options for Youth and the American Friends Service
Committee, a Quaker-affiliated group assisting civilians in Iraq.
While withholding only $10.40 is described as “low risk” by the
ACOMT, some members have been punished. In
the Statesman’s op-ed pages,
ACOMT volunteer Andy McKenna reveals that “after 11 years
of inaction,” the
began garnishing his wages of all but the federal monthly poverty level.
Still, Austin tax resisters soldier on undeterred. “The war takes money, and
it takes bodies. And they have to come from somewhere,” says Van Haitsma.
“And that’s what I’m opposed to.”
Taxpayers filed 130.1 million individual income tax returns for , down from 130.3 million the previous year
38.2 million of these (29%) had an adjusted gross income under $15,000 (which is what I aim for in order to stay below the tax line), and 39.1 million of the returns (30%) showed zero federal income tax for the year
Total adjusted gross income was just over $6 trillion, 2.2% less than the previous year
Taxable income dropped 4% to $4.1 trillion
Total income tax fell 10.2% to $797.0 billion (“This was the largest percentage decrease .”)
103.5 million returns (80%!) came from taxpayers who had overpaid their taxes and were due a refund (meaning they gave the government a free loan during the year)
From this last point, it seems to me that those of us who thrill in seeing
money taken away from the government might do well to simply encourage people
to rejigger their W-4 withholding so as not to be
giving this interest-free loan to the treasury. There’s a powerful
self-interest / common-sense argument for this that’s probably more broadly
influential than the idealistic arguments for tax resistance.
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