War Tax Resisters Addie & Paul Snyder

I got another letter from the IRS . Nothing special: just them pointing out to me that the tax return I filed for tax year seems to have been missing a check for the amount due.

On , The Milwaukee Journal printed an expanded version of an Associated Press article I drew attention to mashed up with the one I reprinted :

War Tax Protesters Face Loss of Property, Freedom

By the Associated Press

Paul Snyder and his wife, Addie, of Fremont, Mich., saw their home sold for the taxes they refused to pay to support the wars they opposed.

But the property — sold at an Internal Revenue Service bid opening at the Fremont Post Office — went to a friend, and the Snyders said they would buy it back.

There are others like the Snyders — who have lost their property or even gone to prison for refusing to pay taxes to support wars. And, like the Snyders, they say they believe their protests were worthwhile and that they’ll continue them.

The Snyders withheld the portion they believed went to the Defense Department based on that agency’s share of the national budget. Snyder, 42, a veterinarian, said the total amounted to about 45% of their taxes.

Mrs. Snyder said the Cambodian invasion was responsible for turning a “pair of hard working Republicans” into war protesters and tax evaders.

They said they used the money for alternative purposes — mostly in Newaygo County on rural poverty projects — because “we believe in paying taxes.”

The Snyders’ $80,000 home was put up for sale by the IRS for the $3,023 in taxes owed for . The purchaser, with a high bid of $8,460, was Carol Blizzard of Holton, who represented a group of Snyder friends who will sell the home back to the Snyders.

In New York City, another taxpayer, Frank J. Costello, 33, a high school teacher, husband, and expectant father, faces the loss of part of his salary and the eventual possibility of imprisonment for his war tax protest.

On , a federal judge handed down a decision against Costello in a civil action brought by the IRS for nonpayment of $659 in taxes for . The IRS will have the right to confiscate his wages to get the money, the court held. Costello says he will appeal.

Now the government is considering whether to file criminal charges against him for his tax returns of . Costello claimed as many as 10 exemptions so that less money would be withheld from his paycheck for taxes in proportion to the share of the Defense Department in the federal budget.

Costello says he took the extra money and put it into community projects of his own choosing. But the law says falsely inflating exemptions is fraud, and he could wind up in prison.

There are others like Costello and the Snyders.

Martha Tranquilli, 64, was released from a federal prison in California after serving 7½ months for tax fraud for claiming antiwar organizations as dependents.

Ernest Bromley, 63, has been withholding taxes since the 1940s because of his pacifist views. His two acre farm in Butler County, Ohio, was confiscated last month.

An IRS spokesman said that in , at the height of US involvement in the Vietnam War, 1,740 tax returns were readily identifiable as protest returns for war resistance or other reasons. For fiscal , the number dropped to 667, although the spokesman said many such returns could go undetected.

The full scope of the protest might be more accurately reflected in the number of persons withholding payment of the federal excise tax on their telephone bills, a tax imposed specifically to pay for war costs. There were 56,445 instances in compared with 50,371 in fiscal , the IRS spokesman said.