The Hundred-Day, Hundred-Dollar Tax Strike

I noted that a group of American activists was trying to get groups to sign on to a low-risk tax resistance campaign.

Here’s a new example: the 100-Day Tax Strike. The basic idea behind it is that this April, when people file their income tax returns, they will file an extension, withhold $100 of the taxes they anticipate owing, and pay the rest. Then they will file their returns 100 days later with the $100 they had held back originally.

This is about the very meekest way you can dip your toes into tax resistance, but for people with an exaggerated idea of the fierceness of the IRS, that may be the only sort of resistance they feel capable of. Even so, their FAQ is full of frightening things like “How can I protect my assets if I participate in the 100-Day Tax Strike?” and “Can I be put in jail for withholding $100 for 100 days?”

It’s launching at an unfortunate time, as many people have already filed their returns, and of those who haven’t, many will be expecting refunds and won’t have $100 to resist (the campaign encourages people who are getting refunds to donate $100 to activist groups).

The founders are clearly very enthusiastic about their project, and we can hope they will apply the lessons learned from this year’s effort to a bigger and better campaign to follow.

More links that have scrolled through my browser recently:

  • Scott Alexander has an insightful review of James Scott’s Seeing Like a State up at his always-mind-stretching blog Slate Star Codex.
  • In the New Republic, Kevin Baker promotes Bluexit: A Modest Proposal for Separating Blue States from Red. He notes that the “blue states” tend to pay more into the federal treasury than they take out, and the “red states” on the other hand tend to be net recipients of federal money. He suggests that the blue states stop subsidizing the red and that liberals reembrace federalism:

    We won’t formally secede, in the Civil War sense of the word. We’ll still be a part of the United States, at least on paper. But we’ll turn our back on the federal government in every way we can, just like you’ve been urging everyone to do for years, and devote our hard-earned resources to building up our own cities and states. We’ll turn Blue America into a world-class incubator for progressive programs and policies, a laboratory for a guaranteed income and a high-speed public rail system and free public universities. We’ll focus on getting our own house in order, while yours falls into disrepair and ruin.

    For starters, we now endorse cutting the federal income tax to the bone — maybe even doing the full Wesley Snipes and abolishing it altogether. We will raise our state and local taxes accordingly to pay for anything we might need or want. We ask nothing more from you and your federal government. Nothing for infrastructure, or housing, or the care of the poor and sick — not that you gave us much, anyway. All we want is our money, and you can keep yours, dollar for dollar.

  • Learn Liberty has a feature on feisty tax resister Vivien Kellems.
  • Seattle Weekly tells the story of the war tax resisting Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen.
  • The IRS considers bitcoin a kind of investment, and so if you buy or earn some, and later spend it, the difference between the value of the bitcoin at those times counts as a capital gain or capital loss, and you’re supposed to file a Form 8949 to report it. But to bitcoin users, the stuff is a currency, and it would be folly to keep track of how much it’s worth every time you earn and spend it and keep an account book like that. So it’s little surprise that only about 800 people report bitcoin transactions on Form 8949, according to the IRS.