The Latest Tax Resistance Scuttlebutt

The latest tax resistance scuttlebutt:

  • NWTRCC is putting on a free, on-line “War Tax Resistance 101” workshop. Register here. If you’ve been curious about how to become a war tax resister in the United States, you can learn the basics and get your questions answered by people with extensive knowledge and experience.
  • Eva Davoine, Sébastien Laffitte, and Wouter Leenders of the University of California at Berkeley conducted a class on “The History of Tax Resistance” last year. Here’s their syllabus. It focuses on tax resistance as either rebelliousness or as political “tax revolt”-style resistance, and doesn’t seem to much touch on the conscientious objection variety.
  • The Republican party, now a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, are leading off by taking some largely-performative jabs at the IRS. They passed a bill that would rescind the measure passed last year that gives the agency a big boost in funding, but because such a bill would require approval of the Democratic-controlled Senate and of the Democratic president to become law, and as the Republicans in the House made no effort to negotiate a bill that might plausibly get such approval, this was all just for hoots and hollers. A more interesting (though also, realistically speaking, in the hoots-and-hollers category) jab comes in the form of the “Fair Tax Act” which would replace the bulk of U.S. federal taxes with a nationwide sales tax. The House plans to bring this up for a vote soon. This is a proposal that’s been around for a while (for details, see my analysis from ). It’s not going to happen, but for some reason it’s important for some Republicans that they get to vote on it. They’re selling it as something that would “abolish the IRS” and so maybe the dreadful details of the proposal matter less than it being just a symbol of the Republicans standing with the taxpayer against the hated tax bureaucracy — something the party seems to have decided on as a winning strategy for appealing to voters. The real, practical test of the Republicans’ enthusiasm and capabilities for restraining or hobbling the IRS (and of Democrats’ willingness to come to the agency’s defense) will come during the upcoming federal budget deliberations.
  • Hansen Rada, at Nextgov, reviews some of the challenges the IRS faces in turning its new funding into long-delayed capabilities modernization.
  • Nuclear weapons foe John LaForge (see ) has surrendered himself for a prison term rather than pay a fine imposed by a German court after he was convicted of trespass during a protest at a German air force base.
  • The “Don’t Pay UK” campaign now has a German counterpart. They are trying the threshold gambit: signing up people who are willing to pledge to boycott their utility bills but only when one million people sign on to the pledge. (Recall that Don’t Pay UK started with a similar threshold scheme, but discarded it when it looked like they would not meet their target number.) Organizers are upset about the burden of rising electricity prices on poorer households in particular.