Well, today is the day, the day by which we USAmericans have to file our annual income tax return. I hope all of you who were required to do so have, or will before the day is over, get your filing done. (Some of my Thinking Friends are not USAmericans, so this posting may be of limited interest to them.)
Yesterday I sent in June’s and my tax forms via the Internet, and we had to pay nearly $5,000 more than we had already paid. But I was not altogether unhappy to make this payment, for there are a lot of needy people who are helped by the government each year, and I consider our tax payment primarily for their benefit.
As a pacifist, I do not like to pay taxes to support the U.S. military, and I especially don’t like to pay taxes to cover the expenses of the preemptive war against Iraq, which I consider an unjust war. So I am quite unhappy about my tax money going for that.
Years ago I toyed with the idea of being a tax resister, refusing to pay the portion of the federal tax that was used for war. Through the years there have been people who did that, and I admire their courage and consistency—but I have not able to do the same thing. Still, I am attracted by the idea and am happy that some are still working for a “peace tax fund.”
The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund is a not-for-profit organization which advocates for passage of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (RFPTFB). In April of last year, Rep. John Lewis (Dem., GA), along with eighteen cosponsors, introduced the RFPTFB as H.R. 2085 in the 111th Congress. If passed by Congress, this legislation would establish a governmental trust fund into which designated conscientious objectors would be able to pay their full federal income taxes.
In 1972 Rep. Ronald Dellums (Dem., CA) introduced the first Peace Tax Fund Act in Congress. (Dellums is currently the mayor of Oakland, CA.) And since 1982, the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, a coalition of groups from across the U.S., has continued to provide information and support to people involved in or considering some form of war tax resistance.
But until the (unlikely) time comes that income tax can be diverted from support of the military, I will just have to consider that, whereas some people are glad to support the Pentagon but resent their tax money being used for people on welfare, my taxes are mainly going to help people who need, and receive, assistance from the government.