The war tax resistance press blitz continues.
The Oregonian covers the tax resistance of John & Pat Schwiebert, and the recent IRS levy of their pension.
“We are real conscientious objectors to war,” John Schwiebert says. The couple is too old to be drafted — if there was still a draft — and “noncooperation is the only way we can object.”
“We are prepared, in any way, to resolve conflict by any peaceful means,” [Pat] says. “Living in community has taught us that conflict is inevitable and that there are ways to resolve that conflict peacefully.”
The Schwieberts live simply. They do not own a house, living in a community of nine adults at the 18th Avenue Peace House in Northeast Portland, a ministry of Metanoia Peace Community United Methodist Church. They have worked, not for full salaries, but for reduced stipends that are below taxable limits. They do not have checking or savings accounts and are careful not to own property that may be seized by the government.
For many years they managed to live without earning enough money to owe federal taxes. But that changed in , when John Schwiebert’s pension kicked in. Their solution has been to calculate the amount they owed, according to the IRS 1040 form, and present that money to Multnomah County. , they presented $3,500 to the Board of County Commissioners.
The Columbus Dispatch takes a look at resisters Rod Nippert, Ed Hedemann, and Marjorie Nelson and demonstrates some of the variety of tactics and motives among war tax resisters:
The IRS has continually tried to collect from Nippert and so far has failed.
“They would do all of these liens and notices, but they could never find anywhere to get any money,” he said, laughing.
Nippert said he typically owes between $500 and $1,000 a year.
“I always do sit down and fill out a tax form to see what I would owe,” he said. “I’m always sure to donate at least that much to organizations that are doing good works for humanity.”
Nippert said he doesn’t oppose everything the federal government does. He just can’t get around the war issue.
“I can’t fight in a war, and I can’t pay for anybody else to fight in a war. And anything I give (the IRS), they’ll take a percentage of it to use for war.”
Nelson is a Quaker who stopped paying part of her federal income tax in , around the time she visited Vietnam with the American Friends Service Committee.
Every year, she carefully calculates how much of her tax bill will go to fund current wars (she doesn’t mind paying for veterans’ benefits) and deducts it from her tax check. She includes a letter to the IRS explaining her reasoning.
And every year, the IRS collects the money anyway, by attaching a bank account or garnisheeing her wages. She doesn’t fight it.
“This is a testimony, this is a witness,” Nelson said. “I’m conscientiously opposed to war, but I have never tried to do anything underhanded or sneaky to keep them from collecting it if they have to do that.”