Very simply, it is refusal to pay some or all of federal taxes that pay for war. In the U.S. war tax resisters choose to refuse some or all of their federal income tax and/or the federal excise tax on local and long distance telephone service. Income taxes and excise taxes are deposited by the government into the general fund and at least half of those monies help to pay for the military budget, including all types of weapons of war and weapons of mass destruction.Hm. Interesting.
Individuals take many roads to war tax resistance: some are protesting a particular war; some find it against their religious convictions to knowingly support war; some are horrified by massive U.S. military spending while human needs go unmet; some are or would be conscientious objectors if called to military service and, therefore, feel they cannot in good conscience pay for something they would refuse to do themselves. Most war tax resisters are motivated by a combination of reasons such as these and actively work for peace in many other ways too.
War tax resistance is an act of civil disobedience with a long history in the U.S. The most well-known war tax resister was Henry David Thoreau. While those of us who refuse to pay war taxes believe — and some cite in international law — this refusal is just and imperative, the federal government, through the Internal Revenue Service, considers refusal to pay these taxes illegal, and there are potential consequences through the IRS collection system. For most of us who resist, the dire consequences of voluntarily paying for war are far worse that what the IRS and government can do to us individually.
I'd heard what I believed to be urban myths about this during Vietnam, but it's nice to see that it actually exists. For me, I'd want to balance this idea with the thought that my taxes buy things other than war. I'm going to give this some thought.
For those of you who think that it would be a bad idea to bring down the wrath of the IRS on your head for not paying taxes, there's a "war resistance lite" scheme.