War Tax Resistance 101

How to refuse to pay for war

| October 6, 2005

Cut the funding and the war stops, right? That's the line of reasoning taken by a growing number of peace activists, and it's a tactic with a lot of potential. But actually doing it is harder than it looks. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there for those hard-core activists or for the merely curious.

'If you work for peace, stop paying for war,' says the button atop the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) website, a general introduction to the topic replete with handy links. The group, active since 1982, seeks to build a national alliance of conscientious objectors to military taxes.

The US 'war taxes' are taken out of everything from income taxes to your phone bill. Nearly half of the US federal income tax revenue is spent on the military, past and present. Matthew Wheeland of AlterNet lays out a step-by-step guide to -- and the repercussions of -- war tax resistance. And those repercussions can be steep, as illustrated by Every Voice Network's, account of war tax resister Pat Washburn, who lost first her car and then her house to the IRS.

War-tax resistance is popular among religious groups and other conscientious objectors. It is a form of nonviolent direct action that makes a big impact. So what should you do if you'd like to pay taxes toward building a peaceful society? The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund is working to create a provision in tax law to allow conscientious objectors to pay their taxes in full, but ensuring that the war portion is instead spent on non-military activities.

Go there >>National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Go there too >>War Tax Resistance Made Simple