Just when you thought there couldn't be any more protests against President Donald Trump, now comes word that a growing movement of Trump detractors are planning a tax protest. Call it the Trump Tax Resistance---people now vowing to refuse to pay federal income taxes as long as President Trump is in the White House. Even celebrity activists like Mia Farrow and Gloria Steinem have voiced support for the tax resistance movement in recent weeks.
As it turns out, tax protests are nothing new. They first became common during the Vietnam War era, eventually leading to the formation of organizations like the National War Tax Resistance (NWTR) Coordinating Committee, which began in 1982 as a protest against funding wars or military spending. Ed Hedemann with the NWTR has spent decades as a tax resistor, across multiple presidential administrations of both parties. "It's not something that's approved by the IRS or the government, and we are fully aware of the risks of getting penalized," he tells KTRH. "But we just feel our consciences are such that we really need to do this."
While the NWTR isn't specifically promoting any tax boycott of President Trump, Hedemann says the organization has seen an uptick in visits to its website in the weeks since the Trump inauguration. He believes the NWTR has lasted decades by maintaining an air of legitimacy. "One of our things is that this should be done openly...we don't encourage people lying or cheating on their tax forms," says Hedemann. They also don't believe in keeping the money you deny the federal government. "Let's say I owe a thousand dollars to the IRS," says Hedemann. "I take that entire amount and give it away to organizations that are trying to help people."
Nevertheless, there is real risk involved in not paying your taxes, as the IRS explains on its website. After decades of being a tax resistor, Hedemann acknowledges that eventually Uncle Sam can catch up with you. "Sometimes they'll find a bank account or a salary that they might levy and get the money that way," he says. "Well, that's unfortunate---but at least we're not voluntarily handing it over to them."