Dear IRS: We cannot in conscience pay for war

Instead of paying for war and killing, we are joining together with others to build what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community.”
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Longtime antiwar activists and tax resisters David and Jan Hartsough sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service earlier this month. Due to COVID-19, the deadline to file income taxes was delayed from April 15 to July 15. For more information about war tax resistance, see

Dear Friends at the IRS,

We are Quakers and cannot in conscience pay for the killing of other human beings, or pay for war and preparations for war. Human life is too precious to drop bombs on people because we do not like their governments. Developing a new generation of nuclear weapons which could put an end to life on our beautiful planet is immoral and insane. Giving the Pentagon hundreds of billions of dollars does not increase the security of our people when we are cutting funds for schools, libraries, job training, diplomacy work at the State Dept. and now even the EPA and the transition to a renewable energy future.

The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, and increased  use of drones have NOT increased our security, but rather have created more enemies of the United States. Our tax dollars are also being used to prepare for wars with Russia, Iran, North Korea and China which could easily, by accident or intention, become a nuclear war which could kill billions of people.  Let’s end the “war on terror” and all wars and bring our tax dollars home to meet the needs of the American people.

Fifty-four percent of everyone’s tax dollars go for wars and preparations for wars. Together with our IRS Form, we are sending a check for 46 percent of what we owe  made out to the Dept. of Health and Human Services.   We ask that you designate all those funds for health, education and human well-being – and NONE for war and killing. The other 54 percent which goes for war and killing we are contributing to organizations working for peace and justice, and programs meeting human and environmental needs in the United States and around the world.

Instead of paying for war and killing, we are joining together with others to build what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community.”  We hope and pray that all the taxes from people worldwide can go for schools, good health care, food and housing for all people on earth which will help  create a  healthy planet for our children and all future generations. 


David and Jan Hartsough 

This story was produced by Metta Center for Nonviolence

We provide educational resources on the safe and effective use of nonviolence, with the recognition that it’s not about putting the right person in power but awakening the right kind of power in people. We advance a higher image of humankind while empowering people to explore the question: How does nonviolence work, and how can I actively contribute to a happier, more peaceful society?

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