Refusal to Pay Taxes Due to War IRS Loses 345 Billion

ABC News
Thu Jul 5

Fed Up With War, Some Won’t Pay Taxes
Some Americans opposed to the war in Iraq are withholding taxes in protest. (AP Photo )
The Associated Press
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN Associated Press Writer
NEW HAVEN, Conn. Jul 4, 2007 (AP)

When the United States invaded Iraq more than four years ago, war opponent David Gross asked his bosses for a radical pay cut, enough so he wouldn’t have to pay taxes to support the war.

“I was having a hard time looking at myself in the mirror,” Gross said. “I knew the bombs falling were in part paid with my tax dollars. I had to actually do something concrete to remove my complicity.”
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The San Francisco technical writer was making close to $100,000 a year. He didn’t know exactly how big of a pay cut he would need to fall below the federal tax threshold, but later figured out he would have to make less than minimum wage.

In any event, his employer turned him down and he quit. Gross, 38, now works on a contract basis, and last year he refused to pay self-employment taxes.

War tax resistance, popularized by Henry David Thoreau in the 19th century and by singer Joan Baez and others during the Vietnam War, is gaining renewed interest among peace activists upset over the Iraq war.

“Clearly this year we definitely had more people calling, sending e-mails about how they decided to start resisting,” said Ruth Benn, coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee in New York.

Based on the committee’s mailing list and reports from numerous groups it works with around the country, Benn estimates 8,000 to 10,000 Americans refuse to pay some or all of their federal taxes over war objections. Internal Revenue Service officials say they don’t have figures for that specific category, but earlier this year reported an overall noncompliance rate of 16.3 percent and estimated the annual tax gap at about $345 billion.

Peace activists are considering a mass tax resistance campaign next April to step up pressure to end the war in Iraq, Benn said.

Many tax protesters say they redirect the money they withhold to charities. Some, like Joanne Sheehan of Norwich, keep their income below taxable levels.

“I don’t see the point of working for peace and paying for war,” Sheehan said.

Copyright © 2007 ABCNews Internet Ventures

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One Response to “Refusal to Pay Taxes Due to War IRS Loses 345 Billion”

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