This site last updated March 30, 2012.
Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (Photo from
Wikimedia Commons

About War Tax Resistance

“Let them march all they want so long as they continue to pay their taxes.”

—General Alexander Haig

The war tax resistance movement comprises two distinct groups:

  1. Those who refuse part or all of their income taxes.

  2. Those who consciously decide to live simply by living below taxable income.

In the last three decades, 49%-60% of our federal income tax has continued to finance war. For the current fiscal Federal Budget, see the War Resisters League Budget Pie, which shows how the federal government has masked military spending. The military portion of the federal budget is now 54%. Imagine more than half the budget going to military expenditure, including nuclear weaponry we are unable to dispose of safely.

Storing nuclear waste is still an unsolved and vexing problem. Surplus equipment often winds up in the hands of foreign countries in turmoil. These local civil conflicts can easily escalate into major wars. That is to say nothing of our the ongoing and escalating conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

an historical perspective

As a movement, war tax resistance can trace its lineage all the way back to the mid-eighteenth century. In 1755 at the outset of the French & Indian War John Woolman and a number of other prominent Quakers set out to persuade the Friends to withhold the £60,000 tax that the Pennsylvania colony assessed. The American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, who refused to pay taxes supporting the Mexican War and the expansion of slavery, was jailed for a night. His essay, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

does war tax resistance really make a difference?

As many war tax resisters will tell you, they contribute resisted moneys to alternative funds such as the New York City People's Life Fund so that community groups can reap the benefits of resisted war taxes.

how do you start?

You can start by attending a support and information meeting. These are posted on the WRL events pages. You can also buy a copy of War Tax Resistance, a comprehensive sourcebook published by the WRL.