U.S. War Tax Resisters Meet in Oakland, California

was the Spring national gathering of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. It was held out in my neck of the woods — in Berkeley and Oakland, California — and was organized by Northern California War Tax Resistance.

I was so busy this time around putting on seminars and facilitating workshops and such that I didn’t take very good notes, but here is some of what I remember.

we were treated to a panel featuring Mira Luna, who is active in local alternative economic projects like the Really Really Free Market and a Time-Bank alternative hours-based currency, and Kwan Booth, who is at the forefront of the movement to build a grassroots hyperlocal journalism out of the ashes of the collapsing news media empires and who covers much of the up-and-coming innovations in community organizing.

we had panels and presentations on outreach strategies, in-your-face confrontational war tax resistance, working with Thoreau in the classroom, homebrewing beer as a tax resistance strategy, an introduction to the low-income simple-living tax resistance method, a look at the New Priorities Project… and I’m probably forgetting some others. We also split into a couple of “War Tax Resistance 202” sessions at which people who practice the low-income method or the refuse-to-pay method could get together and talk over the nuts and bolts.

In one of two break-out groups on , experienced resisters talk about their strategies for dealing with the IRS

, our local war tax redirection fund held its redirection ceremony at which it awarded $1,000–$1,500 grants of redirected war taxes to a number of local groups who would spend the money more wisely than the government would. Interspersed with the grant awards were performances by musician Francisco Herrera and a talk from the irascible, inspirational, uncompromising radical lawyer Tony Serra, who has been twice honored by the legal system for his tax resistance by being awarded with prison time — which he compared to “throwing a doctor in a hospital.”

J. Tony Serra addresses the gathering

, the coordinating committee of NWTRCC met to go over business — finances & fundraising, objectives, proposals, changes of committee membership, that sort of thing. This was my last meeting as a member of the Administrative Committee, as two of us rotated off and were replaced by a couple of others.

I signed up for a new working group — the “rapid outreach working group” — which is tasked with identifying emerging groups, actions, and movements that have a message that is harmonious with war tax resistance and reaching out to them to show them how NWTRCC can help them make war tax resistance a useful part of their actions.

Members of the coordinating committee stuck around on to work out the nitty-gritty business of NWTRCC

Coincidentally while the meeting was going on I got two letters from the IRS. One was a copy of a “Notice of Levy” they sent to Fidelity, which holds my retirement accounts, in an attempt to seize money to pay the taxes I refused to pay for the tax year. But the levy explicitly does not apply to “IRAs, self-employed individual retirement plans, or any other retirement plans in your possession or control” so I don’t think the IRS will get anything out of it.

The other letter was a “Final Notice of Intent to Levy” based on what I refused to pay for the tax year. For some reason they sent me two copies of the same notice in the envelope. This notice was packaged with a Form 12153 (“Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing”) in case I wanted to bother with that, a copy of Publication 594 (“The IRS Collection Process”), and a copy of Publication 1660 (“Collection Appeal Rights”).

Each letter had a table on the back showing the amount they were after me for, including “Statutory Additions” (interest and penalties).