Leftists fancying themselves the next incarnation of the original Tea Party have decided to protest against President Trump by refusing to pay their federal income taxes.
Andrew Newman, an associate professor of English and history at Stony Brook University on Long Island, sounded off:
My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people. It will contribute to the destruction of the environment and maybe more nuclear weapons. I think there will be a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy elite and Trump’s campaign for the working man and woman was an absolute fraud. If you pay taxes you are implicated in the system. The government wants our money and if a lot of people were thinking about this kind of peaceful protest, it would get their attention.
Newman acknowledged, “I’ve been discussing this with friends and colleagues and they are extremely interested. People are very responsive but they also say ‘I don’t want to go to jail.'” That’s hyperbole; if he doesn’t pay his taxes he will simply be fined and charged interest.
Ruth Benn, coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, which urges people to boycott paying their taxes, said her committee’s website has been visited by twice as many people as normal in recent weeks, roughly 1,500 people per day. The committee believes 8,000 people a year refuse to pay US federal income tax. The website acknowledges there is a possibility that tax resisters could be jailed, but insists that the chances are remote.
According to tax.findlaw.com:
In order to convict you of a tax crime, the IRS does not have to prove the exact amount you owe. But such charges most often come after the agency conducts an audit of your income and financial situation. Sometimes they're filed after a tax collector detects evasion or fraud. In any event; if the IRS suspects criminal nonpayment (or underpayment) of taxes, it will start with a "primary investigation" to determine whether criminal charges should indeed be filed. If the case progresses, the IRS will initiatiate a "subject criminal investigation."
Ignoring bills and notices from the IRS can lead to a determination of tax evasion. Tax evasion is a serious offense that will leave you with a court hearing, marks on your credit, and criminal record. Even worse, if found guilty of tax evasion, you will be fined up to $25,000 dollars and can serve up to 1 year in prison.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem told The Guardian:
In 1968, we refused to pay the 10% of our Federal income tax dollars that funded the war in Vietnam, and included a letter to the IRS saying so. In February before tax time on March 15, 500 or so of us listed our names in ads that we published in the New York Times, together with a quote [from] Thoreau on Civil Disobedience, and an invitation to join us. I’m going to do this again by sending what I think should go to Planned Parenthood, deducting it from my Federal IRS return, and including a letter saying so. Though it’s a smaller sum than Vietnam, we won’t just be keeping it or using some to pay for expensive NYT ads, and can add whatever each of us is able to in order to support Planned Parenthood.
"If you pay taxes you are implicated in the system."
Andrew Newman, associate professor of English and history at Stony Brook University on Long Island
Kirsten Taylor, 50, a contemporary arts fundraiser in Grand Rapids, Michigan, had another reason to refuse paying her taxes, saying:
I’m not really a political activist but I feel like Trump’s taxes are his kryptonite. I want a campaign of non-payment in the style of ‘I’ll show you mine when you show me yours’. I’m desperate for someone to figure out a way to get him to disclose his returns. I think they would show he should not be president.” She cited documentary maker Michael Moore’s offer to pay any fines for Republican members of the electoral college who voted against Trump as an example of wealthy people who might come to her aid.