In less than a month in office, Donald Trump has achieved something that no American president has done in decades: Unite the nation. Yup, you read that right. Americans across the U.S. are coming together to deliver a powerful message to Donald Trump: “We will not pay taxes until you release your tax returns.”
The tax resistance movement —last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war— is gaining traction nationwide and it seems unstoppable.
Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, Donald Trump is the dealbreaker. He’ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration, according to The Guardian.
“My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people. It will contribute to the destruction of the environment and maybe more nuclear weapons. I think there will be a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy elite and Trump’s campaign for the working man and woman was an absolute fraud. If you pay taxes you are implicated in the system,” said Newman, an associate professor of English and history at Stony Brook University on Long Island, part of the State University of New York.
“The government wants our money and if a lot of people were thinking about this kind of peaceful protest, it would get their attention,” he added.
Newman, 48, regrets that his 2016 taxes have already been automatically taken out of his paycheck. But He intends to write to the government accusing the Trump administration of a planned misuse of those public funds. Then he will change his 2017 arrangements so that he will get a bill from the Internal Revenue Service, instead, and will refuse to pay it, donating the money to causes he deems more socially responsible.
And Newman is not alone.
“The tax resistance is growing in the Trump era,” Ruth Benn, coordinator of the Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee told The Guardian. “There have been very few people who have spent time in jail for not paying taxes as an explicit act of political resistance,” she said.
Anti-Trump rallies are being planned nationwide for 15 April, which is normally tax day, even though this year returns are due on 18 April. The theme will be to demand that the president release his federal tax records, something he has resolutely refused to do.
Kirsten Taylor, 50, a contemporary arts fundraiser in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is especially anxious to see Donald Trump’s tax returns, The Guarding writes.
“I’m not really a political activist but I feel like Trump’s taxes are his kryptonite,” she told the paper.”I want a campaign of non-payment in the style of ‘I’ll show you mine when you show me yours’. I’m desperate for someone to figure out a way to get him to disclose his returns. I think they would show he should not be president.”
Taylor is passionate about refusing to pay federal income tax until Trump releases his returns.
Meanwhile, there is talk in California of the state becoming an “organized non-payer” of its dues to the federal government and urging non-compliance with the federal tax code if Trump cuts off federal funding to its “sanctuary cities” – Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento – if they do not cooperate with demands to hand over undocumented immigrants.