Tax Resistance News in Brief

Some bits and pieces from here and there:

  • The Daily Hampshire Gazette has published a nice retrospective of the life and work of Juanita Nelson up to now, which includes the good news that Nelson is working on a memoir.
  • If the IRS levies your salary for back taxes, they are supposed to leave you enough to live on and not just take the whole paycheck. They’ve recently published the table they use to calculate how much to take, which is based on how frequently you get paid, your filing status, and the number of exemptions claimed on your W-4.
  • Here’s an update on the cases of Spanish war tax resisters Jorge Güemes and Hugo Alcalde, who are pursuing court actions in support of their stand:

    [Güemes’s] appeal argues that the resister’s action is the expression of fundamental rights such as the freedom of belief, which doesn’t only cover forms of thinking based on deep convictions, but also the acts consistent with them, and sets limits on the power of the State.

    Conscientious objection to the maintaining of armies by means of direct taxes would therefore be an expression of this freedom of belief. The Constitution and international laws protect this right, whether or not there is legislation that covers it. Furthermore, and more importantly, asserts the appeal, civil disobedience such as pacifist tax resistance, is also a guarantor of the collective political right to a just international order and peaceful international relations.

    The same appeal makes explicit also that the resister is not merely seeking relief against an unjust administrative decision, but rather to follow an ethical imperative to help spread tax resistance, using his case as an amplifier for these ideas.

  • British war tax resister Roy Prockter tells how the tax collector confronted him:

    [H]e asked me my reasons for refusing, when I said conscientious objection to military taxation he started getting agitated, asking if I objected to paying for schools and hospitals as well — I said that I’d be pleased to pay for schools and hospitals if I could do so without paying for the military to kill people.

    He then said that he’d met some nutters in his line of work, but I took the biscuit!

Some excerpts from a letter from Anthony Benezet to George Dillwyn in [July?] :

What I mentioned to Sister Peggy was the desire I had to communicate parts of Moses Brown’s letter relating to the payment of taxes for the purpose of war. This Testimony he appears fully convinced is founded on truth & sends me a copy of a letter he had purposed to send to friends in England on that head, but at the same time he appears very desirous friends should not do any thing in a wrong zeal, not according to knowledge and especially as he says is in a step in the reformation that cross a received testimony in society more than perhaps any other, we had need to step wisely in it. He adds “It is apprehended the many difficulties friends were under at their first appearance & the manner of the English collecting their taxes, being such that a refusal must have greatly encreased them, the first reformers were excused from that burden, and permitted to pay them, that by so doing they might (as Geo. Fox said in an Epistle on this subject ) better claim their liberty. The Tryal (he farther says) of those [who?] may refuse the payment of taxes will be imagined at this time by their conduct being construed into a dis-affection to their country; and we hope will be a bar to any’s runing in a forward spirit to become reformers without feeling the Meek & humbling evidence of truth.

And this, from another letter from Benezet to Dillwyn in , after he recounts how wealth and worldliness is damaging to Quakers and to the Society of Friends:

But God in his Mercy is providing, I trust, a means to deliver us from this greatest of snares, in calling us to bear, indeed, a faithful Testimony against Wars, in the case of Taxes, which will not be like a passing storm, but an abiding tryal, which as it will come heavier upon those who are most loaded & incumbered with the clay of this world will have I trust a blessed effect, to every one who will willingly receive it, to keep us low & humble, intitule us to ye divine regard, according to ye promises.