Recent links from hither and yon:
- Tax resistance is heating up in Myanmar in the wake of the military coup there. The national legislature passed a law suspending tax collection and ordered government departments to stop collecting taxes, though the head of the central tax agency downplayed this. There are also campaigns afoot to boycott lottery tickets, stop using sales tax stamps, and stop paying government monopoly utility bills. Consumer pressure forced one restaurant chain to make a public statement that customers were welcome to refuse to pay sales tax in its restaurants.
- You can learn more about the Extinction Rebellion U.K. project #MoneyRebellion in its latest newsletter. Among its projects is Earth Tax Strike — a coordinated tax resistance campaign designed to pressure the government to enact more sensible environmental policies. Here is an example of a letter the resisters will be sending to the government to explain their refusal and their demands.
- The IRS continues to exceed its authority by assessing “frivolous filing penalties” against people who write them letters that protest how their tax dollars are spent — even if those letters aren’t “filings” at all, or are accompanied by filings that are accurate and complete and that don’t assert any “frivolous” positions. This has understandably intimidated some people from petitioning their government for redress of grievances in this fashion. Small loss though that may be, Ruth Benn urges us to not roll over too quickly: “if we want to make a statement about refusing to pay for war, hassles come with the territory and are actually the least of the risks that a resister could face.”
- The human war on traffic ticket robots continues. In recent weeks, radar cameras were toppled or blinded by spraypaint in various locations in France.
- The U.S. government has been sending out stimulus payments as direct-deposits, as checks, or as debit cards. It would do this even if the recipient was behind on their taxes and owed the goverment money: it did not deduct what you owed from the stimulus you received. If the IRS couldn’t find you, though, or didn’t think you qualified for a payment, there was a backup option: you could apply for the stimulus on your tax return. However if you did that, the IRS would treat it as any other deduction or credit, and offset it against the taxes you owed. Which put people who had to use this backup at a disadvantage… or at least it did so until recently: The IRS now says it will not offset such stimulus credits against federal tax debts.
- The IRS, after insisting that it would stick with the April 15th tax filing deadline this year, finally threw in the towel and extended it to . Part of what convinced them? They are still trying to finish up last year’s returns, and a growing backlog of taxpayer correspondence. There were also some significant tax changes in the recently-signed stimulus bill (such as big changes to the child tax credit, and exemption of a large hunk of unemployment benefits from taxable income) that threw a wrench into things even as tax filing season was already officially underway.