With the April 15 tax deadline as a backdrop, dozens of tax season protests, organized by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, occurred across the country this past week. Protesters came out to voice their concern about tax funds being used for the war.
Additionally, thousands of Americans are finding another way to protest the Iraq war and it doesn't involve marching in the streets or picketing the White House. Instead many are silently picketing the IRS by choosing not to pay their federal income tax for fear their money could go to support the war effort.
While the war gave the civil disobedience movement new life, it also coincided with tax season. Regardless of why an individual chooses not to pay his or her taxes, the IRS doesn't discriminate between those who don't file due to protest and those who don't file for more common reasons. Failure to pay is failure to pay and can result in future credit problems.
"People need to be aware if you don't file your tax return or pay your taxes on time, you could face penalties or interest, and if you continue to ignore it, the penalties and interest could increase," said IRS spokeswoman Peggy Riley. She added that while the IRS is always concerned when an individual consciously chooses not to pay taxes, the agency is not seeing a huge trend toward tax-related war protests this year.
With an estimated 132 million tax returns flowing into the IRS this week, The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee states that only about 8,000 Americans annually avoid paying all or some of their federal income tax liability, most citing political beliefs as the main reason why.