Links of Interest to Tax Resisters

Today, some bits-and-pieces that have collected over the past weeks that I haven’t been able to fit in anywhere else:

  • A site calling itself The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree brings the war tax resister “penny poll” into the digital age: asking people to fill a shopping cart with things they’d rather have bought than the Iraq War for that $3,000,000,000,000.
  • Steev Hise reports back from the NWTRCC conference in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • The Tax Prof Blog notes a study on cigarette smuggling in the wake of sharp rises in tobacco taxes in some states. The Tax Foundation says this has often been accompanied by a rise in smuggling-related crime.
  • A TIGTA audit shows that in conflicts with the IRS, low-income taxpayers get poor service from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Another TIGTA report looked at the challenges facing the government in its attempts to close the “Tax Gap.”
  • The IRS got caught playing a sneaky trick in Tax Court — a “fraud on the court” in the words of one judge, who applied sanctions to the agency in 1,300 cases it was prosecuting, leading to over $30 million in refunds.
  • The Tax Foundation notes that while we’re distracted complaining about the windfall profits of ExxonMobil and the like, the real bandits are getting off skot free: “the total amount of taxes the company paid or remitted [last quarter was] $29.3 billion, nearly three times the net profits it earned for shareholders. The financial statements of two other large U.S.-based oil companies, ConocoPhillips and ChevronTexaco, show similar large tax payments. Indeed, these three companies paid or remitted a combined $47.8 billion in taxes in the first quarter of , nearly $28 billion more than they earned in net profits.”
  • Mimi Copp says that the Iraq War has cost American families about $16,500 each. But she’s decided to stop payment. “It is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. But this year, with a core group of people in my church community, Circle of Hope, I was able to walk with them through the discernment process and I felt quite strongly about doing this form of resistance to war-making, while at the same time redirecting money to life-giving initiatives. Here’s a letter to the editor I wrote for tax day, which was not published.”:

    How can we stop the war in Iraq? Soldiers can refuse to fight. Government leaders can de-fund the occupation. Taxpayers can stop paying for it.

    This year I will not pay my federal income tax to the U.S. government. I will no longer support my country’s war-making by giving it my money.

    In , out of every dollar the U.S. government spent, 5 cents was spent on education and 12 cents on food and housing assistance, while it spent 41 cents on war & preparations for war. This type of spending does not reflect my Christian values and therefore I will not support it.

    Instead, I will redirect my tax dollars to two organizations working on life-giving initiatives: healthcare for the uninsured and aid for Iraqi refugees.

    When Congress passes the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (HR-1921), I will resume paying my income tax to the U.S. government.

    I know that I will be breaking the law and I am prepared to accept the consequences, because when a country wages war there are consequences; ask a solider returning home or an Iraqi refugee being resettled in Philadelphia.

  • The MakingPeace blog reports on another variation of the “penny poll”-style war tax protest. It’s pretty simple: just pieces of paper on which are printed “I’d rather buy _______ than war!”, accompanied with magic markers aplenty.
  • Everybody in the willfully ineffective wing of the American anti-war movement is going to Cleveland for an Open National Conference to Stop the War in Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now. They seem to have concluded, before the conference even begins, that the most important thing they can be doing right now is to organize another big march and rally like the ones that have been so effective in the past.
  • The Urban Institute has published a paper on War and Taxes to note that the Iraq War seems to be an anomaly in that the U.S. government is spending hand over fist on the war, but not trying to raise revenue accordingly.