New National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee Newsletter

The NWTRCC newsletter is out. Some things that caught my eye:

  • A profile of J. Tony Serra, the radical defense lawyer and long-time tax resister who is “one of two war tax resisters to have been jailed for ‘willful failure to pay’ federal income taxes.”
  • A report from Bill Ramsey on his attempt to get the anti-war group United for Peace and Justice to add a one-time war tax resistance campaign to its upcoming nonviolent direct action plans. Ramsey reports: “I rarely had to explain why we think the time is ripe for a one-time act of war tax refusal. Instead, I was repeatedly asked, ‘Where do we sign up?’ ”
    • You can learn more about Ramsey’s one-time war tax resistance campaign proposal at “On , thousands of war opponents publicly refuse to pay a portion of their federal income taxes in order to withhold funds for the war in Iraq and redirect those funds to reconstruction in Iraq and in communities destroyed by Katrina.” The campaign needs volunteers to get things ready before the roll-out. I’ve signed up to help, but the more the merrier!

The “tax gap” — the difference between what the law requires taxpayers to pay and what they actually fork over — is usually reported as being about $300 billion. This number is based on a study, which in turn extrapolates from the results of earlier surveys. The numbers are stale, and weren’t all that good to begin with, but they’re about all we have.

A new report from the IRS shows how they plan to address this gap and to obtain fresher figures.

One thing I noted while skimming through the report is that although the tax gap estimate does include taxes due on income from the “underground economy,” it apparently does not include income from that part of the underground economy that is itself illegal (such as the drug trade):

IRS estimates of the tax gap are associated with the legal sector of the economy only. Although tax is due on income from whatever source derived, legal or illegal, the tax attributable to income earned from illegal activities is extremely difficult to estimate.

Perhaps when this part of the tax gap is unearthed and brought to light, our cruel and tedious national experiment with prohibition will finally end.