War Tax Resisters Don Woodside and Mike Palecek

A couple of war tax resisters have their say:

First, Don Woodside brings us the scoop on war tax resistance in Canada:

Gandhi said the responsibility to resist evil is as great as the responsibility to promote the good. A small, determined group of Canadians began resisting their financial involvement in war in , and since that time more than 1,000 of them have deposited military taxes in the Peace Tax Fund operated by Conscience Canada. They were conscientious objectors who could see that in modern wars, governments need to conscript not their bodies, but their money.…

Canada has a 200-year history of respect for conscientious objection to bearing arms. Furthermore, as far back as , Upper Canada allowed conscientious objectors to redirect their militia taxes to public works, and during the First and Second World Wars to purchase peace bonds instead of war bonds.

What are the consequences? In the 30 years Conscience Canada has existed, there have been no criminal charges, no seizures of goods and no financial penalties other than the standard rate of interest on unpaid taxes. We know of only one person who was audited. Most of the time, the Canada Revenue Agency will collect the money they consider owing within a year or two. At that point the conscientious objector can take back the money he or she deposited in the trust fund.

Second, Mike Palecek tells of the “frivolous filing” penalty the U.S. government gave him when he sent a letter of protest in lieu of his tax return:

We have a semblance of representation, but not in reality.

Nobody asks you if you want to build more prisons. Nobody asks you if you want to bomb children in Iraq. Nobody asks you if you want your money to go to the poor, to schools, to roads.

Nobody ever asks.

So sometimes, sometimes you just have to tell them.

Every year we are asked to pay our taxes, send in our forms, pay for the bullets, the bombs that kill the children, the men and women.

We are given no choice.

Just as we were given no choice as children whether or not to rise before class and say the pledge of allegiance to America’s wars.

We’re not children anymore.

Our acquiesence has real consequence.