A List of Tax Resistance Tactics

Over the past several months I’ve been compiling lists of examples of a variety of tactics that have been used by tax resisters and tax resistance campaigns — tactics in addition to tax resistance itself. Today I’ll give an overview of the whole series:

Methods of Supporting Tax Resisters

  1. accompany resisters to/from prison, correspond with/visit them inside
  2. assist resisters whose property is seized
  3. assist the families of imprisoned resisters
  4. attend the trials of those prosecuted
  5. demonstrate support for individual resisters
  6. develop and use legal expertise
  7. engage in mass action in response to arrests
  8. form groups for mutual support and coordinated decision-making
  9. form mutual insurance pacts
  10. hold resisters’ property in others’ names
  11. honor resisters who have been imprisoned
  12. issue formal shows of support for imprisoned resisters
  13. join cooperative housing and business arrangements
  14. keep a record of “sufferings”
  15. pay the fines or legal fees of prosecuted resisters
  16. petition for leniency towards resisters
  17. rally on the occasion of arrests, trials, or imprisonments
  18. refuse to indict or convict as a jury
  19. resist levies on employees’ salaries
  20. resist withholding on employees’ salaries

Methods of Recruiting Tax Resisters

  1. ask people to vow to resist when a critical mass of people take a similar vow
  2. choose a small, easy, high-participation tax to resist
  3. convince existing organizations to adopt or endorse tax resistance
  4. educate potential resisters about techniques and consequences
  5. engage in social boycott of non-resisters
  6. maintain solidarity in the face of divisive pressure
  7. reach out to potential resisters at the time and place of payment
  8. recruit new resisters through letters or face-to-face outreach
  9. threaten taxpayers to try to coerce them into resisting

Methods of Expanding Resistance Tactics

  1. boycott government monopoly goods or particularly taxed goods
  2. conduct consumer strikes
  3. conduct labor strikes
  4. conduct hartals and business strikes
  5. counsel people in legal tax avoidance techniques
  6. defy conditions of tax-exemption, deliberately incur then resist a tax
  7. encourage tax evasion, erode general taxpayer compliance
  8. engage in pickets, protests, and other public demonstrations
  9. foment acts of solidarity from non-resisters
  10. foment bank runs
  11. manufacture & sell alternatives to taxed goods
  12. miscellaneous corporation/employer resistance
  13. participate in barter and other off-the-books transactions
  14. participate in buycotts and boycotts
  15. pay taxes in an inconvenient or symbolic way
  16. pay taxes with degraded currency
  17. petition for redress of grievances
  18. refuse to fund certain voluntary, non-governmental activities as well
  19. refuse to support the government in certain other ways
  20. refuse to use government currency
  21. renounce government privileges and titles
  22. resist the census
  23. secede / set up a parallel government
  24. smuggle goods to evade taxes
  25. switch to alternative currencies
  26. switch to cash
  27. threaten to repudiate the government debt

Methods of Frustrating Government Enforcement

  1. assault tax collectors
  2. attack police or military personnel engaged in tax enforcement
  3. attack tax offices
  4. attack the homes and property of tax collectors
  5. block tax collectors with barricades, blockades, or occupations
  6. blockade tax offices
  7. clog up the courts and/or the jails
  8. destroy the apparatus of taxation
  9. develop positive relationships with tax officials
  10. disrupt government auctions
  11. disrupt trials, break resisters out of prison
  12. encourage defection in the tax bureaucracy
  13. engage in social boycott of tax collectors and collaborators
  14. hide or flee to resist arrest
  15. hide taxable or seizable assets
  16. intimidate or assault tax collaborators
  17. intimidate tax collectors with humiliation attacks
  18. issue bomb threats, send disturbing packages
  19. migrate or taxpatriate ahead of the tax collector
  20. miscellaneous uses of violence
  21. refuse to elect tax assessors or collectors
  22. short-circuit the bureaucracy with paperwork
  23. warn people when tax collectors are on the way

Methods of Publicity and Propaganda

  1. avoid falsehood, engage in radical honesty
  2. conduct surveys to gauge support
  3. contrast your tax resistance campaign with more fearsome or objectionable opposition movements
  4. get a good spin out in the media
  5. put your taxes in an escrow fund in lieu of payment
  6. redirect resisted taxes to charity
  7. resonate with myths, legends, folklore, or historical examples
  8. sing tax resistance songs
  9. surrender yourself as a criminal for having paid taxes
  10. take public oaths or pass resolutions of tax resistance
  11. use property seizures as rally or protest opportunities
  12. wear badges, emblems, or uniforms

Methods of Legalizing Resistance

  1. appeal to a bigger, badder government to take your side
  2. convince the government to rescind the tax or legalize resistance
  3. participate in an unorganized, leaderless, tax strike