About Our Campaign

The tradition of civil disobedience involves breaking a law in favor of a higher law. It is a statement of non-cooperation with illegitimate authority — in this case the Bush Administration’s use of our children's and grand children's tax dollars to wage war. Because we are breaking the law, we are inviting a response from tax authorities. The spirit of civil disobedience is to take a risk and make a potential sacrifice because of one’s strong moral feelings. We believe this time has arrived for a mass action of civil disobedience.

If war tax resisters file their taxes and pay a portion of them — and do not deface forms or include fraudulent information — the risks are very minimal. The most likely consequence is that the IRS will take action to collect unpaid tax funds, with possible late payment penalties. The IRS has the power to remove funds from bank accounts (they already have the numbers) or garnish wages. This will not involve a criminal judgment or going to court — but a collection order. Risks of criminal action are minimal. But never before has a level of war tax resistance been proposed — so we cannot be absolutely certain as to how the U.S. government will respond. Historically, they have sought to avoid publicity.

The benefits of civil disobedience in this case are enormous. Each resister writes a personal letter describing their personal decision. This letter accompanies their tax return, but would ideally be a public statement shared with friends, media, Congressional representatives and posted on our web site.

The more people who undertake this witness, the more people will be inspired to join them. It is a powerful personal statement and action — at a time when many of us feel personally powerless. As a public witness, if we succeed, it will be the single largest war tax resistance in U.S. history.

For more answers see our FAQs.


The Decision to Refuse
This campaign would be to refuse a percentage of your taxes equivalent to the percentage of the federal budget used for war/military purposes. This shows that you will not support that use. For example, you might reduce the tax you pay by: 7% — the proportion of 2008 income tax to be spent on the military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, or 31% — the proportion of 2008 income tax slated for current military expenses, or 51% — the part spent on total military expenses.

Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes
(US Federal Budget - 2008 Fiscal Year)

Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,387 billion
MILITARY: 51% and $1,228 billion
NON-MILITARY: 49% and $1,159 billion

Current military” includes Dept. of Defense ($585 billion), the military portion from other departments ($122 billion), and an unbudgetted estimate of supplemental appropriations ($20 billion). “Past military” represents veterans’ benefits plus 80% of the interest on the debt.

For information on these figures, download this piechart!

Credit: http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm

Filing as a War Tax Resister

Typical Process:

  • File your Form 1040 on or before April 15, 2008, accompanied with a letter that explains your refusal to pay part (or all) of your taxes. Fill out the form normally per the IRS filing instructions. To avoid being considered a frivolous filer (an IRS category) and frivolous filing penalties, do not make extraneous claims or write your thoughts on the form.
  • War tax resistance is an act of conscience, of civil disobedience. This campaign is about refusal to pay for war, not promoting tax evasion or challenging the constitutionality of taxation or war taxes.
  • Carefully arrange your thoughts and include in your letter topics such as conscience, economic and moral consequences of war, nonviolence beliefs, misappropriation of public funds for harmful means, or where your redirected taxes are going.
    - Include your letter with your 1040 filing. Do not staple it to the form.
    - You may choose to forward a copy of the letter to local media, elected officials, peace groups, etc.
    - Do not expect any response from the IRS to the letter.

Consequences of Your War Tax Resistance

  • IRS RESPONSE: Most likely, the IRS will send you a series of computer-generated notices that list the balance due, possible penalties, and with interest charges.

Potential negative consequences (if you continue to refuse to pay, after getting IRS notices):

  • The IRS has the power to collect from bank accounts and wages after sending a notice that says they “intend to levy.”
  • The IRS may not follow up at all if collection is difficult or the amount of money is not worth the effort. War tax resisters should be prepared, however, for the IRS to eventually take action.
  • Fear of the IRS and the uncertainty of consequences are common — but lessened as the number of resisters increases.

Potential positive consequences:

  • If enough people refuse, an antiwar message will be heard by the government.
  • You may be satisfied in having acted in a time-honored manner, refusing cooperation with the military machine and helping direct funds towards positive purposes.
  • You may be satisfied in having brought your life into consonance with your moral values.
  • You may feel a sense of empowerment by taking concrete action against the harmful actions of the government.