Democracy Now! Features War Tax Resister Ed Hedemann

Democracy Now! has a good piece on war tax resistance featuring an interview with Ed Hedemann:

Something that stood out to me in the Hedemann interview was how well he articulates the civil-disobedient-protester point of view on tax resistance (see for my system of categorizing varieties of tax resisters).

Here are some of his comments about the Peace Tax Fund:

I think it would be better if such a Fund existed, but I wouldn’t participate in it, because… part of the reason why I refuse to pay is I want to be an irritant to the government. I want to make a protest that can’t be ignored. And I think that the government would use such a Fund, if it were to be formed, to shuttle away people who are noisy and people who are protesters and people who agitate. And I refuse to do that: I want to do a protest that the government has to pay attention to.

And here he responds to a question about tax resisters who suffer from government reprisals:

I think that’s the risk you take. But, to me, part of the issue is that the protest is as important as how much money is resisted. And I think that there are people who are war tax resisters that do have their salaries seized, but they continue to protest despite that because the point of refusing to pay — from my point of view — is protesting.

Hedemann was also interviewed for today’s RadioActivity show:

Here’s a quote on a similar theme from that interview:

Q: Do you report all this to the IRS?

Hedemann: Oh yes; absolutely. I mean, that’s one of the reasons I do this, is — not just for the sake of purity, because I don’t want to have my money sullied by war and military — but to make a statement, to make a point. I want the IRS to know. So I file my taxes, I include a letter explaining exactly what I’m doing and how much I owe and am not paying the IRS and that I’m giving the money away to other organizations — sometimes I even mention the other organizations, like the New York Times has a “Neediest Fund” [that] gives money to people who are poor, down-and-out, homeless — so I say “okay, I’m giving $1,000 to the New York Times ‘Neediest Fund’ — $1,000 of my tax dollars, instead of to the IRS, to this other fund.” And I tell them directly what I’m doing.

April 15th has long been the date for war tax resisters to have their “fifteen minutes of fame” in the papers. Here are some examples from years gone by:

IRS Warns Objectors To Pay Taxes

N.Y. Times News Service

The Internal Revenue Service will, if necessary, seize cash and property owned by opponents of the war in Viet Nam who are recusing to pay their income taxes, Commissioner Sheldon S. Cohen said .

The service will take this action “in fairness to the many millions of taxpayers who do fulfill their obligations,” he said in a statement in response to an advertisement urging non-payment of taxes in ’s Washington Post.

The government has been upheld in court on all occasions when individuals have refused to pay taxes because of disapproval with the uses to which their money was being put, revenue officials said.

One noted precedent was the case of Milton Mayer, the Quaker author, who in attempted unsuccessfully to refuse to pay one-half of his income tax, on the ground that the money was being used for purposes that violated his pacifist beliefs. The case was made on constitutional grounds under the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion, but Mayer lost both in the District Court in the Northern District of California and in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

IRS and Justice Department officials could not remember a similar case that has reached the Supreme Court.

A group of Amish farmers in Pennsylvania lost a somewhat similar suit recently in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania when they attempted to refuse to pay Social Security taxes. Their property was seized in payment of the tax.

The standard IRS procedure in cases where taxpayers file returns but do not pay the tax that is due is to send a notice as soon as the non-payment is discovered. If the return is filed on or near the April 15 deadline, this could be as long as a month, although it is usually less than that, revenue officials said.

The initial notice gives the [illegible] make his payment or make arrangements with the IRS for a later payment. The latter is permitted to cases of [unusual?] financial hardship.

If there is no response to the 10-day notice, the IRS generally sends a second notice. After another 10 days or so has elapsed, the service then moves to seize the assets of the delinquent. Under law, it may do this without specific authorization from any court.

“War” Tax Resister Gives Joy to Some

 Irving Hogan, 44, distributed his unpaid income tax yesterday not to Uncle Sam but to his fellow man.

Hogan stood in a crowd of about 150 startled persons, handing out $1 bills. About 60 of them.

That, he said, was the amount of his unpaid federal income taxes he guessed would be spent on the Vietnam war.

“I want this money to be used for the delight, not the destruction, of men,” the well-dressed philanthropist said.

“Here,” he called to one man, “go buy yourself a beer.”

“And here,” he said to another, thrusting the bill in his hand. “Buy your wife a nosegay.”

The money soon ran out, and the crowd moved to other events of the three ring circus billed as an antitax rally outside the federal building.

Ogling curvy showgirls who paraded in bikinis and barrels was, they agreed, a more enjoyable way to celebrate April 15 than the traditional payment of taxes to the federal government.

The young morsels were protesting taxes. One, Bonnie Parker, said she would not pay the $500 she owes.

“I refuse to pay. I am not even filing. I don’t have it and I don’t know what I would do to get it,” she said, shivering in a brisk wind.

Through it all, the IRS offices did a brisk business on deadline day.