Employers Can Refuse to Cooperate with Salary Levies

In addition to refusing to withhold taxes from the salaries of tax resisting employees (see The Picket Line for ), employers can also express their solidarity for such resisters by refusing to comply with salary levies. Here are some examples:

  • The War Resisters League has a policy of not honoring IRS levies against their employees’ salaries. According to NWTRCC’s guide to organizational war tax resistance, “though the IRS continues from time to time to send levies for other employees, they have not been enforced, and there has been little interaction between the IRS and WRL in recent years.”
  • Also according to NWTRCC’s guide, the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund and the Friends Committee on National Legislation have either resisted levies or established policies to resist levies should they occur.
  • The “Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee,” which helped fuel the anti-Vietnam War movement, refused to turn over to the IRS the paychecks of Eric Weinberger, a war tax resisting employee.
  • The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (of Quakers) has a strong and well-thought-through policy on how to respond to IRS levies of the salaries of resisting employees. Excerpt:

    If the conscientious, war-tax-resisting employee requests, in the event that IRS serves a levy on Yearly Meeting against the salary, wages or other employee property alleged to be in the Meeting’s possession, Yearly Meeting will follow the practice approved on and decline to submit to the levy. In refusing, the Meeting will set forth its belief that military tax resistance is an appropriate individual expression of the Friends Peace Testimony and that Yearly Meeting is led, consistent with its most fundamental beliefs, to resist government efforts to coerce an employee against their conscience in such historic Friends’ testimonies.

  • The New York Yearly Meeting (of Quakers) in approved a statement in which they agreed that the meeting would refuse to honor salary levies directed at employees who were refusing taxes for conscientious reasons.
  • The Baltimore Yearly Meeting of Friends has a similar policy, and responded to one levy by telling the IRS: “The levy would require the Yearly Meeting to act against our employees’ testimony and witness. The Yearly Meeting is not ready to take that step.”
  • The Quaker magazine Friends Journal had a policy against paying such levies, and initially refused to pay $31,343 in taxes, penalties, and interest, from the salary of its editor, Vinton Deming. The magazine eventually gave in when it became clear they could not win a legal challenge to the levy.
  • The Christian activist group Sojourners has a policy of refusing to comply with government levies of the salaries of its employees who are war tax resisters. Sojourners managing director Joe Roos says, “To date we have been threatened with levies, with the confiscation of our property, with arrest and prison terms and, most recently, with the money we refused to turn over being taken out of my personal account since the IRS views me as a ‘responsible person.’ Despite all these threats, the only action they have taken is to levy our corporate account, taking the amount they say is still due plus interest, plus penalty.”
  • When some American Mennonite farmers resisted the Social Security / Medicare tax, the IRS tried to seize the money owed to them by the Amish-run milk cooperatives they worked through. According to Brad Igou, who documented such resistance for the Amish Country News, most cooperative officials refused to comply.
  • When the IRS ordered the First & Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven, Connecticut, to turn over the salary of their war tax resisting minister, Carl Lundborg, in , the congregation voted unanimously to refuse.
  • The IRS tried also to get war tax resisting Catholic pastor Cosmas Raimondi’s parish to turn over his salary to them in , but the parish council refused, saying that “[a]lthough we personally do not feel called to war tax resistance for ourselves, we do support the right of Father Raimondi to make that decision according to the dictates of his own conscience before God.”