How to Help the I.R.S. Give Money Back to Poor People

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is a partnership between the IRS and various non-profits and other such groups across the country that trains ordinary schmoes like you and me how to help people fill out their tax forms and then sets up clinics during tax season to do that.

By doing this, the volunteers help many low-income people correctly file for tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, that can reduce or eliminate their tax liability or even convert it into a tax subsidy. The vast majority of people who have their taxes filed through VITA receive refunds — refunds they might have failed to apply for without such assistance.

For this reason, tax resisters may want to consider joining up with the program, despite the unseemliness of collaboration with Internal Revenue. The IRS has released a list of VITA sites if you’re interested.

The Vote

From the issue of The Vote:

“No Taxation Without Representation.”

No women have votes in Bermuda, the franchise in that country being based on a land-owning qualification restricted to men. Women suffragists, however, are active, and Mrs. J.S. [Gladys Misick] Morrell, Chairman of the Bermuda Suffrage Society, a land-owning woman, recently refused to pay what she considered an unjust property tax. The Overseers of the Poor, who collect parish taxes, brought an action against her, and Mrs. Morrell put up a spirited defence of herself in Court. The magistrate, himself a suffrage advocate, said that under the law he had no choice in the matter, and the creditors could proceed. On the day when Mrs. Morrell was to be sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment for “contempt of Court,” the Overseers abandoned their action and obtained a levy warrant against Mrs. Morrell’s personal property. We are confident that that is not the end of the story, and we hope to report further stages in the woman suffrage agitation in Bermuda in later issues of The Vote.

The suffrage campaign in Bermuda borrowed many of the features of the successful campaigns elsewhere, including tax resistance, but was not itself successful in winning the vote until .

From the New York Times (excerpts):


Tax on Labor — Hostility to Union Men…

Correspondence of the New-York Times.

This city has been a scene of much excitement during , growing out of an act of the City Council imposing a tax of $10 per capita on the stevedores and other laborers on the wharves here, and requiring them to wear a badge, which the city furnished upon receipt of the tax. The laborers all — white and black — persistently refused to pay a tax regarded by them so exorbitant and unjust; in consequence of which the Mayor ordered the Police to prevent all from working who had not paid the tax.

This, of course, seriously interfered with the shipping interests of the city, and the Council, finding that the laborers were not at all disposed to yield, and that meanwhile the “strike” was damaging the business community to the amount of thousands of dollars, and was driving all the vessels from this to other ports, met and reduced the tax to $3. This, however, only tended to increase the feelings of the laborers, who had resolved not to pay any tax whatever, deeming it unjust, unconstitutional and oppressive to tax unskilled labor, and they determined that none of their number should work, whether they paid the tax or not.

This made it necessary for the police to protect those who had yielded and paid the tax from the assaults of their incorrigible brethren; and Bay-street presented, , a very crowded and active appearance. I was in the crowd from the time the police appeared until they and the crowd disappeared, and failed to see any act indicating violence, or justifying the arrest of any one. The police, however, arrested several negroes, whom they treated in the most brutal and barbarous manner — beating them over the head so severely as to cause the blood to flow profusely. No attempts were made to arrest any of the white men, although they were the parties who inaugurated and controlled the strike from beginning to end.

A vast deal was said during the excitement about the d—d “Yankees” and “niggers;” and, from all I could learn, was induced to believe that the one is held in as high esteem by the rebels as the other.