Nashua-Hudson War Tax Resistance Support Group

Francine Wall and Ruth McKay

Francine Wall of Nashua, left, and Ruth McKay of Hudson, right, members of the Nashua-Hudson War Tax Resistance Support Group, are protesting war by distributing leaflets in front of the Nashua Internal Revenue Service office . McKay said she plans to hold out 35 percent of her income tax payment this year because that portion of the federal budget is spent on war efforts.

From the Nashua Telegraph, :

Hudson woman to hold back on income tax as war protest

by Jon Sherwood

Ruth McKay of Hudson expects to hear from the IRS .

She figures the U.S. government spends one-third of her taxes on nuclear armament and preparation for war. So, she said, she will deduct that amount from her tax payment because she is opposed to war on the grounds that it violates God’s wishes.

McKay adds she’ll write a letter to the Internal Revenue Service to explain her refusal to pay. That way, she said, she won’t be prosecuted for tax fraud.

McKay, of 17 Barretts Hill Road, belongs to the eight-member Nashua-Hudson War Tax Resistance Support Group. The aim of the one-year-old group, she said, is to promote world peace by showing governments military spending will not be tolerated.

McKay and Francine Wall, of 7-E Hartford Lane, Nashua, have been pacing in front of the IRS’ Main Street office to publicize their fight.

They speak with passersby and dispense information pamphlets. On and , they plan to hold vigils at Monument Park on Library Hill, with the theme “Christ is Betrayed by Nuclear Weapons.”

Kiki Soris, public affairs officer for the IRS in Portsmouth, explained the procedure when a tax payment falls short of expectations.

She said the IRS sends a notice to inform the taxpayer more money is owed. If there is no word from the taxpayer, the tax collection agency sends up to four more notices, each more serious than the last.

Soris said the fifth notice warns that, if no explanation is received, enforcement action will be taken. That means seizing a personal bank account, attaching wages, or attaching Social Security checks.

If no word is received after the fifth notice, she continued, the agency will take action to get the money. Soris said the IRS is also allowed to put a lien on a home, or confiscate and sell a taxpayer’s personal property and put the proceeds toward the tax bill. Also, Soris said, interest and penalties are charged on late tax payments.

But McKay knows the procedure and said she nevertheless plans to hold back her 35 percent as a symbol of civil disobedience, so the government will get the message. She said she expects to be charged the interest and penalties fees.

McKay said some Quakers in the state also hold back tax money from the government as a protest. But, she said, a lot of those persons make so little money annually they fall below the minimum tax guidelines. McKay said she isn’t willing to go that far just yet.

, the Telegraph reported “War tax resisters exploring uses for taxes they withheld.” Here’s a follow-up article about what they decided, from :

War-tax opponents bank withheld levy

by Jon Sherwood, [Nashua] Telegraph Staff Writer

Tax money withheld from the Internal Revenue Service by some members of the Nashua Area War-Tax Resistance Support Group has been deposited in a local bank account, members say.

Ruth McKay of 17 Barrett’s Hill Road, Hudson, said she withheld 32.9 percent of the tax she owed — $800 — because statisticians say that portion of the federal budget is spent on war and war preparation.

Francine Wall of 7-E Hartford Lane said she and her husband, Thomas, have not yet donated any money to the cause. They declared a 32.9 percent peace credit on their tax return and expected to have received the money by now.

Mrs. Wall said the expected procedure is for the IRS to mail them the credit after their return is fed through a computer. The Walls would donate that to the fund. When the IRS hand-processes the return, Mrs. Wall said, the accountant will notice they are not eligible for the credit and will send a letter requesting the money in return.

She said they will then try to keep the government from getting the money back.

The pacifist group decided at a potluck supper at the Hudson Community Church this past week it would keep the withheld dollars in escrow, to be given to the government when policies change and when the money will be used for purposes other than war.

The group decided that until those policy changes do occur, interest from the account will be contributed quarterly to peace work or hunger relief projects.

Mrs. McKay said, “I expect they (the IRS) are going to get the money because they can attach my pay — I work the second shift at Centronics.” Other IRS methods of retrieving back taxes include putting a lien on a resister’s home or attaching a spouse’s earnings or assets.

She said she expects the IRS to charge interest for the time the money is withheld, and may even assess her a fine, “but I’m willing to pay the price.”

During the meeting, group members shared war-tax refusal letters they had written to the IRS on , and other correspondence they have had with the federal agency. The group is committed to peaceful resistance of military preparation and war. The group’s purpose is to educate and support persons who witness for war-tax resistance.

As for the escrow account, Mrs. McKay said “Any tax refuser in this part of the state will be welcomed with open arms,” if they would like to donate withheld money.

She said the government cannot attach the money because the account is under an organization name, but it would be returned to the resister when the government finds another method of getting its due.

In the meantime, she said, the group would use the interest to foster peaceful causes.

Mrs. McKay said she got involved with war-tax resistance when she was teaching high school-age Sunday school classes during the Vietnam era. She said, “One of the boys in my class pushed his Sunday school books across the table and asked me what he should believe. Whether the government was right or the church was right.

“He said he could be drafted to go to war, but the church told him not to fight. He was using the knowledge we gave him the way it was supposed to be used.”

It occurred to Mrs. McKay that “when you put obedience to God first, you run into worldly problems. But it has always been that way. Jesus had that problem.”

“It’s really simple,” she said. “If you believe in God, it is easy to make the decision. But it is hard to live it out.”

The group meets quarterly. The next meeting is a picnic . For information, interested persons may contact Mrs. McKay or the Walls.

By , the fund had accumulated enough interest to make a small donation to the Center for Law and Pacifism. The article that reported on the donation also mentioned that McKay was planning to try to present a case for her war tax resistance in Tax Court. That apparently was not successful, as by , the IRS was levying her social security checks for back taxes.

The Friends’ Review of editorialized about a proposed Militia Law for Pennsylvania as follows:

On , a leaden coffin, containing the mortal remains of one of the most illustrious advocates and exemplars of the Peace principle, was deposited in a humble grave at “Jordan’s” in Buckinghamshire, England. And , a proposition has been entertained in the State which he organized and governed — in the city which he wisely planned — to bring hither the dust and ashes of his cast-off garment, and to erect a splendid monument over the new grave of one who has slept in Jesus for a century and a half.

And how does Pennsylvania vindicate her claim to the keeping of the mortal remains of William Penn? Is it by the enactment of a law in direct violation of those principles of religious liberty, for the exemplification, enjoyment, and protection of which this Commonwealth was founded? A law against which he would have solemnly protested, and oppressive to the consciences of his successors in the faith of the gospel of peace. A law, too, applied specially to the city of Penn, by which the goods of his co-religionists must be distrained on their declinature to abandon a principle, which, it is well-known, has been organic with them from the day

“When Pennsylvania’s founder led his band
From thy blue waters, Delaware, to press
The virgin verdure of the wilderness.”

Would not a manifestation of the respect entertained by Pennsylvania for her founder seem equivocal at least, if not hollow and heartless, if its expression should be in the two inconsistent and simultaneous acts of spoiling the goods of the Quakers for a paltry war tax (this, too, in time of peace), and expending more money than such tax would yield, in an ostentatious monument to the memory of Penn, whose aspiration was not for the praise of men?

The members of the Society of Friends do not base their claim for exemption from military requisitions in any and every form upon the respect due to William Penn. Their right to the free exercise of conscience, under both National and State Constitutions, is fundamental, and lies deeper than any statute. This right, not derived from but paramount to human enactments, was distinctly guaranteed in the charter granted by William Penn, and is declared involate by the bill of rights of the existing Constitution. Friends are a Christian people, implicitly believing in the teachings of the holy Prince of Peace. They hold an indubitable conviction that war is sinful — that it was forbidden by our Lord — that it is contrary to the spirit and tenor of the New Testament, and that it must be offensive to God. So believing, they can neither bear arms, nor pay money for not doing so. They cannot implicate themselves in any way in a military system. If their property is seized, they do not resist, yet they regard it as persecution for conscience’ sake, and a violation of their right to obey the Supreme authority which transcends all human legislation. “To require it under legal penalties,” said Benjamin Bates, “is to reduce them to the alternative of refusing a compliance with the laws of their country, or of violating what they most solemnly believe is to them a law of God, clothed with the most awful sanctions.”

Another article in the same issue reads as follows:

The Moravian makes the following very incomplete statement:

The Friend, a Quaker paper published in Philadelphia, complains that members of the sect are served with notices to pay the State militia tax. It advises them to resist the demand as long as possible.

This does not fairly state the case. Not resistance but non-compliance is advised — and this not “as long as possible,” but always, altogether, and at whatever sacrifice of property. The Moravian has unintentionally conveyed an erroneous impression. A Friend can no more, with a clear conscience, pay a Militia-tax, than could the Moravian pay tribute to the Pope of Rome. An instance of resistance to legal authority cannot, we believe, be found in the annals of our religious Society. We are a law-abiding people. We “render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s.” We may disapprove of a law and think it oppressive; still we are found among the first to obey it, unless we are convinced that obedience will conflict with our duty to God. And then — we peaceably and patiently (but not without protest) bear the consequences of non-compliance. The advice given by The Friend was “patient submission to wrong” — and to “take cheerfully the distraint of their goods.” The editorial to which the above summary reference is made, gave a clear and irrefutable reason for the position taken — and in the same Journal of the ground is logically sustained…

An act to compel the Quakers to perform military service, or to pay money in lieu thereof, might properly be entitled, “An act for the extinction of the Religious Society of Friends.” Such would be its effect if Friends, as a whole, should comply with the requirement. The peace testimony, though only one of the Society’s principles, is so connected with its Christian code that

“One link broken, the whole chain’s destroyed.”