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
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
Here’s a quote on a similar theme from that interview:
Q: Do you report all this to the
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
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
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
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:
Washington — 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
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.
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.
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
a later payment. The latter is permitted to cases of [unusual?] financial
If there is no response to the 10-day notice, the
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.