War Tax Resister Juanita Nelson

From the edition of The Afro-American:

Income Tax Objector Is Still Free… But Nervous

Faces fine of $1,000 or year in jail

Mrs. Juanita Nelson of 3509 Baring St. was at home but in suspense last week, she said.

Her anxiety stems from the fact she hasn’t “heard a thing” from the tax agents who had arrested her on for failure to pay Federal income taxes.

She was given until to be prepared to pay a $1,000 fine or spend a year in jail for contempt of court.

Mrs. Nelson said, “I’ve been away for the past week with my husband.”

She laughed nervously and said, “I haven’t heard of anyone being here after me, and I didn’t receive any mail from the internal revenue agents.

“So I don’t know what is going to happen to me. My husband and I got home Saturday night.” Her husband, Wallace, is a book company salesman.

Mrs. Nelson and her husband are members of a nationwide pacifist movement which is called “The Peacemakers,” organized in .

This is based on Gandhian principles of non-violence.

She said they believe that peace will never come by means of war and war preparation.

The group advocates that in addition to income tax refusal, they refuse to cooperate with military draft, refuse to work in war industry and will not cooperate with civil defense drills.

They propose non-violent resistance in case of invasion or suppression of freedom and wide-spread economic sharing.

Mrs. Nelson has a master’s degree in speech therapy from Ohio State University. In Philadelphia, she is well known as a neighborhood improvement worker, and is a business secretary.

When Mrs. Nelson was arrested on she was picked up bodily by deputy marshals and police and carried to a waiting patrol wagon.

The officers said they were forced to carry her bodily because she refused to accompany them willingly after they had served her with the body attachment. She was also carried out of the cellroom to a chair for the hearing.

Mrs. Nelson said she isn’t going to pay income taxes.

U.S. Attorney Harold K. Wood reported that Mrs. Nelson had failed to explain to the Internal Revenue office her reason for not paying $950 in taxes for the years of and when she was living in Cincinnati.

Taxes were also due for and . A summons was ignored on and several others thereafter. Mr. Nelson was a conscientious objector during World War Ⅱ.

Nelson tells the story of her arrest (and what happened next) in her essay, “A Matter of Freedom.”

From KCRG-TV News, :

God Over Government; Religion Over Taxes

by Steve Nicoles

They are known as war tax resisters: people who refuse to pay some or all of their taxes because we are at war. The protest is not new, and it is not legal.

On the surface war tax resistance is simple tax evasion. But it has happened in this country whenever there is a war. And one couple hopes its protest spurs debate about this latest war.

Depending on who you ask, the U.S. government spends anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of your tax dollars on the military.

Ken Gingerich of Johnson County said, “I feel the military budget in this country and military spending is way out of line.”

For 40 years, Gingerich and his wife Noreen have done their best to make sure their taxes do not fund any sort of violence.

Ken said, “We’ve either lived below the taxable income or withheld a portion of our taxes.”

Ken calls it war tax resistance. It is his protest to end violence. The IRS calls it a frivolous tax return, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine. It is a risk the Gingerich’s are willing to take. They are Mennonites. Their religious beliefs do not allow for violence.

Ken said, “If I have to choose between god and country, it’ll be god.”

Over the years this peaceful couple has withheld less than $50,000. Not much at all when we are talking about a multi-billion dollar war on terror. And eventually the IRS gets its money.

Noreen said, “It’s sort of an exercise in futility.”

The Gingeriches know they cannot win this fight alone, but they say they have to do what they believe is right, and hope others will join them.

There really is no way to know how many people are withholding taxes like the Gingeriches. The IRS does not keep stats on frivolous tax returns. But the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee says they are seeing more hits on their website.