Hudson woman to hold back on income tax as war protest
by Jon Sherwood
Ruth McKay of Hudson expects to hear from the IRS .
She figures the U.S. government spends one-third of her taxes on nuclear armament and preparation for war. So, she said, she will deduct that amount from her tax payment because she is opposed to war on the grounds that it violates God’s wishes.
McKay adds she’ll write a letter to the Internal Revenue Service to explain her refusal to pay. That way, she said, she won’t be prosecuted for tax fraud.
McKay, of 17 Barretts Hill Road, belongs to the eight-member Nashua-Hudson War Tax Resistance Support Group. The aim of the one-year-old group, she said, is to promote world peace by showing governments military spending will not be tolerated.
McKay and Francine Wall, of 7-E Hartford Lane, Nashua, have been pacing in front of the IRS’ Main Street office to publicize their fight.
They speak with passersby and dispense information pamphlets. On and , they plan to hold vigils at Monument Park on Library Hill, with the theme “Christ is Betrayed by Nuclear Weapons.”
Kiki Soris, public affairs officer for the IRS in Portsmouth, explained the procedure when a tax payment falls short of expectations.
She said the IRS sends a notice to inform the taxpayer more money is owed. If there is no word from the taxpayer, the tax collection agency sends up to four more notices, each more serious than the last.
Soris said the fifth notice warns that, if no explanation is received, enforcement action will be taken. That means seizing a personal bank account, attaching wages, or attaching Social Security checks.
If no word is received after the fifth notice, she continued, the agency will take action to get the money. Soris said the IRS is also allowed to put a lien on a home, or confiscate and sell a taxpayer’s personal property and put the proceeds toward the tax bill. Also, Soris said, interest and penalties are charged on late tax payments.
But McKay knows the procedure and said she nevertheless plans to hold back her 35 percent as a symbol of civil disobedience, so the government will get the message. She said she expects to be charged the interest and penalties fees.
McKay said some Quakers in the state also hold back tax money from the government as a protest. But, she said, a lot of those persons make so little money annually they fall below the minimum tax guidelines. McKay said she isn’t willing to go that far just yet.
, the Telegraph reported “War tax resisters exploring uses for taxes they withheld.” Here’s a follow-up article about what they decided, from :
War-tax opponents bank withheld levy
by Jon Sherwood, [Nashua] Telegraph Staff Writer
Tax money withheld from the Internal Revenue Service by some members of the Nashua Area War-Tax Resistance Support Group has been deposited in a local bank account, members say.
Ruth McKay of 17 Barrett’s Hill Road, Hudson, said she withheld 32.9 percent of the tax she owed — $800 — because statisticians say that portion of the federal budget is spent on war and war preparation.
Francine Wall of 7-E Hartford Lane said she and her husband, Thomas, have not yet donated any money to the cause. They declared a 32.9 percent peace credit on their tax return and expected to have received the money by now.
Mrs. Wall said the expected procedure is for the IRS to mail them the credit after their return is fed through a computer. The Walls would donate that to the fund. When the IRS hand-processes the return, Mrs. Wall said, the accountant will notice they are not eligible for the credit and will send a letter requesting the money in return.
She said they will then try to keep the government from getting the money back.
The pacifist group decided at a potluck supper at the Hudson Community Church this past week it would keep the withheld dollars in escrow, to be given to the government when policies change and when the money will be used for purposes other than war.
The group decided that until those policy changes do occur, interest from the account will be contributed quarterly to peace work or hunger relief projects.
Mrs. McKay said, “I expect they (the IRS) are going to get the money because they can attach my pay — I work the second shift at Centronics.” Other IRS methods of retrieving back taxes include putting a lien on a resister’s home or attaching a spouse’s earnings or assets.
She said she expects the IRS to charge interest for the time the money is withheld, and may even assess her a fine, “but I’m willing to pay the price.”
During the meeting, group members shared war-tax refusal letters they had written to the IRS on , and other correspondence they have had with the federal agency. The group is committed to peaceful resistance of military preparation and war. The group’s purpose is to educate and support persons who witness for war-tax resistance.
As for the escrow account, Mrs. McKay said “Any tax refuser in this part of the state will be welcomed with open arms,” if they would like to donate withheld money.
She said the government cannot attach the money because the account is under an organization name, but it would be returned to the resister when the government finds another method of getting its due.
In the meantime, she said, the group would use the interest to foster peaceful causes.
Mrs. McKay said she got involved with war-tax resistance when she was teaching high school-age Sunday school classes during the Vietnam era. She said, “One of the boys in my class pushed his Sunday school books across the table and asked me what he should believe. Whether the government was right or the church was right.
“He said he could be drafted to go to war, but the church told him not to fight. He was using the knowledge we gave him the way it was supposed to be used.”
It occurred to Mrs. McKay that “when you put obedience to God first, you run into worldly problems. But it has always been that way. Jesus had that problem.”
“It’s really simple,” she said. “If you believe in God, it is easy to make the decision. But it is hard to live it out.”
The group meets quarterly. The next meeting is a picnic . For information, interested persons may contact Mrs. McKay or the Walls.
By , the fund had accumulated enough interest to make a small donation to the Center for Law and Pacifism. The article that reported on the donation also mentioned that McKay was planning to try to present a case for her war tax resistance in Tax Court. That apparently was not successful, as by , the IRS was levying her social security checks for back taxes.