1. What is the experience of war tax resistance in bringing policy change/ what impact can this really have on the war?

War tax resistance is a personal witness in resisting war. It requires individuals to make a personal and powerful statement that deepens their commitment. Civil disobedience implies a willingness to take a personal risk for one's belief.

This war is being waged with the tacit cooperation of millions of people who oppose it. War tax resistance is a powerful statement of non-cooperation that contributes to the overall strength of the movement against the war.

2. What are the consequences of not paying taxes?

For those resisting by claiming more allowances on their W-4 forms, the most likely consequence is that the IRS concludes that your withholding is too low, and they require your employer to change the number of allowances that you receive. The IRS could also impose a $500 civil penalty, although tax resisters are not aware of this happening for decades. Far less likely are criminal charges, including one year in jail and a fine up to $100,000. Since the 1970s only one war tax resister has been prosecuted, and he was sentenced to 8 hours per week of community service.
3. How much of our taxes are allocated for funding the war in Iraq?

In 2008, 7% of the Federal income tax will be spent on the military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan (estimated $141 billion).

The percentage of taxes slated for current military spending in 2008 will be 31%, or $585 billion. This calculation includes current war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, military personnel, operations and procurement, NASA, International Security, Homeland security, the Executive Office of the President, and much more.

Finally, 51% of all taxes go to the total of military spending. This includes all of the figures from above, plus Veteran's Benefits, interest on the national debt, human resources, human resources, general government costs, and physical resources.
4. Some war tax resisters end up giving the government more money than they originally resisted due to interest and penalties. Why would we bother to go though this hassle only to end up paying more to the government in the end?

War tax resisters believe they have a civic obligation to throw a wrench into the gears of the war machine. It is a symbolic act, but when thousands of people join together it withdraws legitimacy from the government's conduct of the war.

Not all war tax resistors end up paying any/all of their backlogged taxes, interest and penalties. The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee cites "Many tax refusers have prevented almost all collections from them, for periods ranging up to fifty years in the case of some of our older colleagues."

Also, understanding one's motives for War Tax Resistance may help to answer this question. Are you resisting war tax as a symbolic action, a statement of values, an act of disobedience, a way to redirect taxes for useful purposes, or another purpose?

5. How does one withhold taxes if they have automatic deductions from their salary throughout the year?

When a person begins a job with an employer, they are required to fill out a W-4 form which helps the IRS determine the amount to tax to be withheld from an employees wages or salary. Most War Tax Resisters include additional allowances into their W-4 forms in order to prevent withholding of the amount of tax they intend to resist. Anyone may fill out a new W-4 at any time, and must do so whenever her or his exemption status changes.

Employees are responsible for the number of allowances that they claim on their W-4 forms. Therefore, employees are not required by law or etiquette to justify their allowances to employers. The law requires that only the W-4 form be filled out; you should not return the worksheet to your employer.
Employers can only reject a W-4 form if 1) a person has altered or added to any of the printed language on the W-4, or 2) a person has verbally communicated that s/he is claiming allowances or exemptions not permitted by the IRS rules. It is not advisable for a person to justify their war tax resistance claims to an employer.

Many War Tax Resistors choose to redirect the resisted taxes into projects that confirm with their conscious and serve the common good.

6. What is the formula to determine how much to withhold on my W-4 Form?

The formula to determine the amount of withholding can adjust from 50%, to 100%, or any other amount of tax you feel is appropriate to withhold.

In 2006, the first $2,650 of a single person's income is automatically exempt ($8,000 for a married couple). Each allowance made on the W-4 exempts another $3,300. Therefore, the resist war taxes, claim an additional allowance for each $3,300 amount of the taxable income to be protected from withholding.

Example of resisting 50%
A Single Person without children in 2006

Single person with annual wages of …$25,000

"Personal allowance"...1

Allowance available for having just one job…1

Total legal allowances: 2 x $3,300 = …….$6,600
(in 2006 each allowance represents $3,300)

Add the $6,600 to $2,650 (amount exempt from withholding in 2006) = $9,250
Which represents the amount exempt from taxation

To calculate your estimated taxable income, subtract that amount from your annual wages ($25,000 - $9,250) = $15,750

To resist 50% of war taxes on that taxable income: $15,750 x 0.50 = $7,875

Additional allowances needed to reduce withholding to 50% is 7,875/3,300 = 2.39 or 3 additional allowances needed to reduce your withholding to 50%

7. Can they take your house away if the amount you owe is more than you have?

$6,250 of your personal property and household goods is exempt from seizure. The IRS rarely attempts to enter homes and seize personal belongings, except in the case of people who are quite wealthy and own the IRS large sums of money. The IRS has a policy of not seizing a person's primary residence, Social Security or Medicare payments, welfare payments, IRAs or pension plan proceeds, unless collection is in jeopardy. In general, the IRS does not seize valuable property to satisfy small tax obligations.
8. Why are we withholding money for military activities in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan did not go to war against the United States. A small group of terrorists, most of whom died in the planes, was responsible. They didn't live in Afghanistan, they lived in Hamburg. They didn't train in Afghanistan, they trained in Florida. They didn't go to flight school in Afghanistan, they went to flight school in the mid-west. They may have been inspired by someone living in Afghanistan, but that did not give the U.S. the right to invade Afghanistan weeks after the attack. That is not self-defense.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were huge crimes - crimes against humanity. But they were not acts of war. The United Nations Charter, the ultimate repository of international law AND supreme in U.S. domestic law since it was ratified by the Senate in 1945, allows a nation to go to war only in two instances: if approved by the Security Council, or in immediate self-defense. Neither of those requirements was met. Article 51 of the Charter allows a country to use military force in self-defense, but with two important restrictions. It applies IF an armed attack occurs, but only UNTIL the Security Council can meet to determine how to respond. The Council met on September 12, and passed unanimously and with great fervor and human solidarity the exact resolution the U.S. had proposed - but that resolution said NOTHING about going to war against Afghanistan. Not because the U.S. feared the UN wouldn't approve it, but because the Bush administration didn't want to acknowledge the UN's legitimate right to regulate the use of international force. The Council decision involved financial efforts to track terror organizations - not war. If the Pentagon had scrambled fighter jets to take down the second plane before it hit the second tower, that would have been self-defense. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was not self-defense, and it was illegal. And bringing NATO into the picture, with European NATO troops taking much of the burden off U.S. troops so more of them can be sent to Iraq, has done nothing to make the war and occupation of Afghanistan illegal.

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