Pragmatic, Legal Steps Can Be Components of Tax Resistance Strategy

If your tax resistance is motivated largely by a desire to take resources away from the government, or to reduce the amount that people provide resources to the government, then it may not matter to you so much whether the means of accomplishing this are illegal civil disobedience or merely legal tax reduction strategies. For this reason, some tax resistance campaigns have included a pragmatic tax education component. Here are some examples:

  • During a sales tax strike in Ontario in , the accounting firm Deloitte Haskins and Sells Canada (an ancestor of today’s enormous Deloitte professional services firm) published a booklet that described several ways that people could legally avoid the sales tax: “The booklet includes such tips as buying large children’s clothing for small-sized adults or buying baby skin care products as substitutes for adult versions.”
  • In the tax resistance group from Oregon called “Peace Investors of Eugene” conducted counseling sessions on illegal tax resistance options, but also two clinics “to tell people how they can legally reduce the amount of federal income tax they have to pay.”
  • For several years, I participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (or VITA) program, which enlists ordinary people like you and me to help people — typically people with low incomes — fill out their income tax returns. The program is sponsored by the IRS, which trains the volunteers in tax preparation. The great majority of returns filed through the program result in refunds rather than additional payments (at a ratio of about 15:1), and so by volunteering I was able to take money from the government and give it back to tax filers.
  • Another war tax resister and tax preparer, John Hammar, remarked in that “If every resister just had one or two times [the amount of] their own taxes kept away [from the government] by helping others cut their tax bills, our efforts would then become a factor in the national budget.”
  • In , a writer for the Friends’ Intelligencer advised readers how to structure their estates and bequests so as to avoid the “United States ‘war tax’.”
  • French farmers in used (and shared among themselves) every legal trick they could discover (and several less legal ones besides) to reduce or eliminate the tithes due on their crops: for instance by growing new crop varieties that were not contemplated by the tithe laws, and planting “gardens” or “orchards” or “meadows” that were exempt although functionally equivalent to the taxed fields.