Tenth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Brussels, Belgium 2004

National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC - USA)

4.11

PO Box 150553

Brooklyn, New York 11215 USA

Phone: (718) 768-3420 (800) 269-7464

Fax: (718) 768-4388

email: nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org

website: www.nwtrcc.org

Name of person submitting report

Ruth Benn, Coordinator, NWTRCC

Organizational Structure

NWTRCC is a network of organizations and individuals across the US who are war tax resisters or support war tax resisters. There is one part-time, paid staff person. Since the last international meeting, Mary Loehr decided to move on to other things, and Ruth Benn has taken over the Coordinator position. Therefore, the office moved in 2003 from Ithaca, New York, to Brooklyn, New York. The Administrative Committee (NWTRCC's board) consists of four people with two alternates and meets face-to-face twice a year in conjunction with the two Coordinating Committee meetings, which are decision-making gatherings open to representatives from affiliates, war tax resistance counselors and area contacts, and anyone in the war tax resistance network. The meetings are held in different locations around the country. There are approximately 8,000 to 10,000 war tax resisters in the US NWTRCC's budget for 2004 is $33,400.

NWTRCC is a clearinghouse and resource center for the conscientious war tax resistance movement. It is a coalition of local, regional, and national affiliate groups working on war tax related issues. NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, environmental destruction and militarization of law enforcement as integrally linked with the militarism that we abhor. Through the redirection of our tax dollars, NWTRCC members contribute directly to the struggle for peace and justice for all. we publish a newsletter six times a year and have literature that provides specific, practical details about war tax resistance. 

We offer counseling, both to new members with general questions, and to old-timers, with very specific questions or entanglements with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). NWTRCC produces and sells resources about war tax resistance and peace tax fund issues and collects and disseminates legal and technical information for war tax resistance counselors.

War Tax Resistance in the US

The war tax resistance movement in the US continues at a steady pace, although not growing as fast as one might expect given the war in Iraq and growing military spending. Each year on April 15, tax day in the US, there are small and large actions around the country, about war tax resistance and also about budget priorities in general. Thousands of flyers produced by the War Resisters League, Where your income tax money really goes, are handed out at post offices and Internal Revenue Service offices. Groups affiliated with NWTRCC hold how to workshops in the months before April 15, and alternative funds, which collect war tax resisted money, announce their grants to peace and justice groups around April 15. NWTRCC gets calls from many newspaper and radio reporters locally and nationally, and many journalists refer to the NWTRCC website for information. There are links on our websites to other groups. One of our most active affiliates, Philadelphia Year Meeting, which is made up of more than 100 Quaker meetings in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is being sued by the Justice Department for the IRS for taxes owed because of a war tax resister who is employed by the Meeting. The Quaker arguments are based on the Religious Freedom Act, and a ruling is due any day. The resistance to the small excise tax on telephone service is still strong and growing; there is a new website campaign initiated by Iraq Pledge of Resistance, WRL, and NWTRCC, about this resistance at www.hanguponwar.org, which includes helpful information for new and longtime resisters.

Significant Challenges

With the war in Iraq, we are not seeing the kind of growth in numbers of resisters that we expected, and many of our groups are held together by long-time activists with few younger faces. When peace-oriented people hear about war tax resistance there is always interest, but our outreach is limited by our small budget and numbers. Still, the internet is making a huge difference in helping people to find us. In addition, fear of the IRS is hard to overcome, and our strongest support groups are few in number and located generally in the larger cities.

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee is a member of the national peace network United for Peace and Justice and also has connections to many other peace and religious groups through NWTRCC's network of affiliate organization.