American War Tax Resisters in 1967

Here are a handful of artifacts relating to the American war tax resistance movement circa .

First, some relics that were filed alongside a letter from Herbert Sonthoff to W. Walter Boyd (though I think this filing may be arbitrary and that the letters are not related to each other):

An Open Letter *

At this late date it is pointless to muster the evidence which shows that the war we are waging in Vietnam is wrong. By now you have decided for yourself where you stand. In all probability, if you share our feelings about it, you have expressed your objections both privately and publicly. You have witnessed the small effect these protests have had on our government.

By , every American citizen must decide whether he will make a voluntary contribution to the continuation of this war. After grave consideration, we have decided that we can no longer do so, and that we will therefore withhold all or part of the taxes due. The purpose of this letter is to call your attention to the fact that a nationwide tax refusal campaign is in progress, as stated in the accompanying announcement, and to urge you to consider refusing to contribute voluntarily to this barbaric war.


Prof. Warren AmbroseMathematics, M.I.T.
Dr. Donnell BoardmanPhysician, Acton, Mass.
Mrs. Elizabeth BoardmanActon, Mass.
Prof. Noam ChomskyLinguistics, M.I.T.
Miss Barbara DemingWriter, Wellfleet, Mass.
Prof. John DolanPhilosophy, Chicago University
Prof. John EkAnthropology, Long Island University
Martha Bentley HallMusician, Brookline, Mass.
Dr. Thomas C. HallPhysician, Brookline, Mass.
Rev. Arthur B. JellisFirst Parish in Concord, Unitarian-Universalist, Concord, Mass.
Prof. Donald KalishPhilosophy, U.C.L.A.
Prof. Louis KampfHumanities, M.I.T.
Prof. Staughton LyndHistory, Yale University
Milton MayerWriter, Mass.
Prof. Jonathan MirskyChinese Language and Literature, Dartmouth College
Prof. Sidney MorgenbesserPhilosophy, Columbia University
Prof. Wayne A. O’NeillGraduate School of Education, Harvard University
Prof. Anatol RapoportMental Health Research Institute, University of Michigan
Prof. Franz SchurmannCenter for Chinese Studies, University of Calif., Berkeley
Dr. Albert Szent GyorgyInstitute for Muscle Research, Woods Hole, Mass.
Harold TovishSculptor, Brookline, Mass.
Prof. Howard ZinnGovernment, Boston University

* Institutions listed for informational purposes only

P.S. The No Tax for War Committee intends to make public the names of signers, hence if you wish to add your signature, early return is desirable. Contributions are needed, and checks should be made payable to the Committee.

The following page, dated , shows a mock-up of the intended public advertisement showing the signers’ names:

No Income Tax For War! Now Particularly the U.S. War in Vietnam. Statement: Because so much of the tax paid the federal government goes for poisoning of food crops, blasting of villages, napalming and killing of thousands upon thousands of people, as in Vietnam at the present time, I am not going to pay taxes on 1966 income. Name ___. Address ___. [In order to withdraw support from war, particularly the savage and expanding war in Southeast Asia– Some are refusing to pay their total tax, or some portion. ☐ Some have in advance lowered their income so as to owe none. ☐ (for our information, would you like to check which form of nonpayment you are following?) NOTE: There are laws which (although not usually applied to principled refusers) cover possible fine and jail term for non-payment of a legally-owed amount.]

The committee will publish the above statement with names of signers at tax deadline — .

Send signed statements to: NO TAX FOR WAR COMMITTEE, c/o Rev. Maurice McCrackin, 932 Dayton St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45214.

For additional copies of this form, put number you will distribute and name and address on the following lines:
No. _____ Name ____________________
Address _________________________

Signers So Far

  • Meldon and Amy Acheson
  • Michael J. Ames
  • Alfred F. Andersen
  • Ross Anderson
  • Beulah K. Arndt
  • Joan Baez
  • Richard Baker
  • Bruce & Pam Beck
  • Ruth T. Best
  • Robert & Margaret Blood
  • Karel F. Botermans
  • Marion & Ernest Bromley
  • Edwin Brooks
  • A. Dale Brothington
  • Mrs. Lydia Bruns
  • Wendal Bull
  • Mrs. Dorothy Bucknell
  • John Burslem
  • Lindley J. Burton
  • Catharine J. Cadbury
  • Maris Cakars
  • Robert and Phyllis Calese
  • William N. Calloway
  • Betty Camp
  • Daryle V. Carter
  • Jared & Susan Carter
  • Horace & Beulah Champney
  • Ken & Peggy Champney
  • Hank & Henry Chapin
  • Holly Chenery
  • Richard A. Chinn
  • Naom [sic] Chomsky
  • John & Judy Christian
  • Gordon & Mary Christiansen
  • Peter Christiansen
  • Donald F. Cole
  • John Augustine Cook
  • Helen Marr Cook
  • Jack Coolidge, Jr.
  • Allen Cooper
  • Martin J. Corbin
  • Tom & Monica Cornell
  • Dorothy J. Cunningham
  • Jean DaCosta
  • Ann & William Davidon
  • Stanley F. Davis
  • Dorothy Day
  • Dave Dellinger
  • Barbara Deming
  • Robert Dewart
  • Ruth Dodd
  • John M. Dolan
  • Orin Doty
  • Allen Duberstein
  • Ralph Dull
  • Malcolm Dundas
  • Margaret E. Dungan
  • Henry Dyer
  • Susan Eanet
  • Bob Eaton
  • Marc Paul Edelman
  • Johan & Francis Eliot
  • Jerry Engelbach
  • George J. Etu, Jr.
  • Mary C. Eubanks
  • Arthur Evans
  • Jonathan Evans
  • William E. Evans
  • Pearl Ewald
  • Franklin Farmer
  • Bertha Faust
  • Dianne M. Feeley
  • Rice A. Felder
  • Henry A. Felisone
  • Mildred Fellin
  • Glenn Fisher
  • John Forbes
  • Don & Ann Fortenberry
  • Marion C. Frenyear
  • Ruth Gage-Colby
  • Lawrence H. Geller
  • Richard Ghelli
  • Charles Gibadlo
  • Bruce Glushakow
  • Walter Gormly
  • Arthur Goulston
  • Thomas Grabell
  • Steven Green
  • Walter Grengg
  • Joseph Gribbins
  • Kenneth Gross
  • John M. Grzywacz, Jr.
  • Catherine Guertin
  • David Hartsough
  • David Hartsough
  • Arthur Harvey
  • Janet Hawksley
  • James P. Hayes, Jr.
  • R.F. Helstern
  • Ammon Hennacy
  • Norman Henry
  • Robert Hickey
  • Dick & Heide Hiler
  • William Himelhoch
  • C.J. Hinke
  • Anthony Hinrichs
  • William M. Hodsdon
  • Irwin R. Hogenauer
  • Florence Howe
  • Donald & Mary Huck
  • Philip Isely
  • Michael Itkin
  • Charles T. Jackson
  • Paul Jacobs
  • Martin & Nancy Jezer
  • F. Robert Johnson
  • Woodbridge O. Johnson
  • Ashton & Marie Jones
  • Paul Jordan
  • Paul Keiser
  • Joel C. Kent
  • Roy C. Kepler
  • Paul & Pauline Kermiet
  • Peter Kiger
  • Richard King
  • H.A. Kreinkamp
  • Arthur & Margaret Landes
  • Paul Lauter
  • Peter and Marolyn Leach
  • Gertrud & George A. Lear, Jr.
  • Alan and Elin Learnard
  • Titus Lehman
  • Richard A. Lema
  • Florence Levinsohn
  • Elliot Linzer
  • David C. Lorenz
  • Preston B. Luitweiler
  • Bradford Lyttle
  • Adriann van L. Maas
  • Ben & Sue Mann
  • Paul and Salome Mann
  • Howard E. Marston, Sr.
  • Milton and Jane Mayer
  • Martin & Helen Mayfield
  • Maurice McCrackin
  • Lilian McFarland
  • Maureen & Felix McGowan
  • Maryann McNaughton
  • Gelston McNeil
  • Guy W. Meyer
  • Karl Meyer
  • David & Catherine Miller
  • James Missey
  • Mark Morris
  • Janet Murphy
  • Thomas P. Murray
  • Rosemary Nagy
  • Wally & Juanita Nelson
  • Marilyn Neuhauser
  • Neal D. Newby, Jr.
  • Miriam Nicholas
  • Robert B. Nichols
  • David Nolan
  • Raymond S. Olds
  • Wayne A. O’Neil
  • Michael O’Quin
  • Ruth Orcutt
  • Eleanor Ostroff
  • Doug Palmer
  • Malcolm & Margaret Parker
  • Jim Peck
  • Michael E. Pettie
  • John Pettigrew
  • Lydia H. Philips
  • Dean W. Plagowski
  • Jefferson Poland
  • A.J. Porth
  • Ralph Powell
  • Charles F. Purvis
  • Jean Putnam
  • Harriet Putterman
  • Robert Reitz
  • Ben & Helen Reyes
  • Elsa G. Richmond
  • Eroseanna Robinson
  • Pat Rusk
  • Joe & Helen Ryan
  • Paul Salstrom
  • Ira J. Sandperl
  • Jerry & Rae Schwartz
  • Martin Shepard
  • Richard T. Sherman
  • Louis Silverstein
  • T.W. Simer
  • Ann B. Sims
  • Jane Beverly Smith
  • Linda Smith
  • Thomas W. Smuda
  • Bob Speck
  • Elizabeth P. Steiner
  • Lee D. Stern
  • Beverly Sterner
  • Michael Stocker
  • Charles H. Straut, Jr.
  • Stephen Suffet
  • Albert & Joyce Sunderland, Jr.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Michael R. Sutter
  • Marjorie & Robert Swann
  • Oliver & Katherine Tatum
  • Gary G. Taylor
  • Harold Tovish
  • Joe & Cele Tuchinsky
  • Lloyd & Phyllis Tyler
  • Samuel R. Tyson
  • Ingegerd Uppman
  • Margaret von Selle
  • Mrs. Evelyn Wallace
  • Wilbur & Joan Ann Wallis
  • William & Mary Webb
  • Barbara Webster
  • John K. White
  • Willson Whitman
  • Denny & Ida Wilcher
  • Huw Williams
  • George & Lillian Willoughby
  • Bob Wilson
  • Emily T. Wilson
  • Jim & Raona Wilson
  • W.W. Wittkamper
  • Sylvia Woog
  • Wilmer & Mildred Young
  • Franklin Zahn
  • Betty & Louis Zemel
  • Vicki Jo Zilinkas

Following this was a page explaining how to go about resisting:

Some Methods of Nonpayment

  1. For those owing nothing because of the Withholding Tax.

    Such persons write a letter to the Internal Revenue Service, to be filed with the tax return, stating that the writer cannot in good conscience help support the war in Vietnam, voluntarily. The writer therefore requests a return of a percentage of the money collected from his salary.

    Note: Of course, the IRS will not return the money. However, the writer has refused to pay for the war voluntarily and has put it in writing. This symbolic action is not to be belittled since anybody who does this allies himself with those who will withhold money due the IRS.
  2. For those self-employed or owing money beyond what has been withheld from salary.

    Such persons write a letter to be filed with the tax return, stating that the writer does not object to the income tax in principle, but will not, as a matter of conscience, help pay for the war in Vietnam. The writer is therefore withholding some or all of the tax due.

Note: In all cases, we recommend that copies of these letters be sent to the President and to your Senators.

The Internal Revenue Service has the legal power to confiscate money due it. They will get that money, one way or another. However, to obstruct the IRS from collecting money due (by not filing a return at all, for example) seems less important to us than the fact that each is refusing to pay his tax voluntarily. With this in mind, many of us are placing the taxes owed in special accounts and we will so inform the IRS in our letters.

Willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to a year in jail, together with the costs of prosecution. So far, the IRS has prosecuted only those who have obstructed collection (by refusing to file a return, by refusing to answer a summons, etc.). Usually, the IRS has collected the tax due plus 6% interest and possibly an added fine of 5% for “negligence”. The fact that the IRS has rarely, if at all, prosecuted tax-refusers to the full extent of the law does not mean they will not do so in the future.

Finally, an article from the edition of The Capitol East Gazette:

Tax Refusal Urged by Group

Two thousand anti-war leaflets on telephone tax refusal were distributed in Capitol East on , by members of CHOICE, a group of local residents who are withdrawing their support for the Vietnam war.

The leaflet explains that the 10% phone tax was enacted in specifically to raise money for the Vietnam war.

According to CHOICE, the phone company will not remove a person’s telephone if he refuses to pay the tax. The company asks refusers to state why they are withholding the tax and then turns the matter over to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to CHOICE, there are presently 25 known tax refusers in the Capitol Hill area.

Those desiring CHOICE’s leaflet are asked to call LI 6‒9836.