I may try my hand at putting together some brief video snippets about tax resistance issues. Here’s my first attempt at learning the process. It’s a little rough around the edges, but has promise:
No, You Won’t Go to Jail if You Don’t Pay Your Taxes.
Lots of tax resistance news sliding by my browser in recent days as the federal income tax filing deadline approaches in the U.S.:
- A syndicated feature about American tax resisters — featuring Rod Nippert, Jay Sordean, Ruth Benn, Peter Smith, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Barron, and Joseph Olejak — appeared in newsweeklies around the country this week, including the Colorado Springs Independent, Salt Lake City Weekly, Athens, Georgia Flagpole, and Baltimore City Paper
- The author of that piece, Mary Finn, was interviewed on Democracy in Crisis.
- The Independent also ran a second article — The new tax resistance? — about a Baltimore woman named Kesh, who has stopped paying her taxes:
This year she isn’t paying because she began thinking more about where her tax money goes and she feels like she can’t keep paying the government. “It’s not going to anything that I can see personally that is going to benefit me,” Kesh, who asked that only her first name be used, says. “But me paying it is definitely going to hit me. Not having that money that needs to go towards other things that I have to pay — that affects me immediately. That’s a loss for me.”
The inauguration of President Donald Trump only worsened her feeling about the situation. First, because she has her doubts about whether Trump has bothered to pay his fair share of taxes, and second, because his administration seems to be waging a war against people like her. “I’m all the groups that are hated. I’ve decided to come to earth in this body and be black, be a woman, gay, so you know, I get hit on every side of it,” she says. “I was a teenaged mother, I’m a single mom — I’m all the things [Trump and Republicans] hate.”
Living in Baltimore, where Freddie Gray died in police custody in April 2015 and where just last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to hamper police reform, taxes funding the police are an issue for her as well. (Police are primarily funded through local and state governments, but Kesh isn’t paying state taxes either.)
“I know that my tax money is going to the police and I can walk down the street and get shot,” she says. “I can get shot by my own money and get killed by my own money and there’s no one that’s gonna do shit about it. So basically I’m giving you money to kill me and people that look like me.”
Unlike long-time tax resisters, Kesh is new to this. She doesn’t know where it will lead her yet — hence her decision not to use her name. The Internal Revenue Service may target her, but not paying feels right.
“I’m basically saying, ‘Fuck you.’ ” she says. “I’m keeping my money.”
- There are lots of war tax resistance-related actions going on around the country in the tax-filing season this year.
- The Alaska Dispatch looks back at the Alaska photo [that] did for the IRS what that passenger video did for United Airlines. (In this case, IRS agents who broke the windows of a car to drag out the passengers so they could seize it in . This was photographed, and the outrage led to IRS policy changes on using violence during collection.)
- The Satyagraha Foundation for Nonviolence Studies is continuing its series on tax resistance with A Call for Tax Resistance — “a joint appeal from leading nonviolent activists and organizations, urging US taxpayers to nonviolently express their opposition to the policies of the Trump administration by refusing to pay a symbolic amount of their US federal income tax, and instead donate that amount to a deserving charity or institution.”
- War tax resisters’ letters-to-the-editor and op-eds are starting to appear, too, including ones from: