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Why I Stopped Paying Taxes

Interview 7 Comments

Quaker War Tax Resistance: In 1994, Joseph Olejak stopped paying taxes. Find out why, and what his Quaker Meeting did when it landed him in jail.

Comments 7

  1. Mary Gabel

    I have great respect for someone who can take this bold a step in living their faith and convictions.

  2. David

    While I certainly support acting on one’s beliefs, I’m concerned about details not covered in this presentation which are often part of tax protest or rent strike. Primarily, you escrow or account for and set aside the money. You don’t spend it on your own needs or enterprise.
    From the Albany based Times-Union, February 3, 2014
    “What did he do with the tax money that was never paid?

    “Olejak didn’t have a precise answer for that question. He didn’t track his tax savings, he said, and he didn’t set the money aside or donate it to charity. Much of the money, he supposed, went into his chiropractor practice, helping to cover patients who couldn’t pay for services.”

    In the plea agreement, Olejak admits to concealing his ownership of a house in Valatie and his Delmar business property to avoid government liens.
    Now, many readers will understandably find Olejak naive or foolhardy or unpatriotic. But even for those willing to accept or admire his decision, there are reasons, I think, to view aspects of Olejak’s approach with skepticism.

    He said, for example, that he also didn’t pay state income taxes because the New York form is tied to the federal version. To me, that decision seems based more on laziness than principle.

    Also, it’s important to note that 82 PERCENT of the federal budget goes to things other than military spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That means Olejak is failing to contribute to many programs — like spending for education and social programs — that are more agreeable to his worldview.

    Olejak, who was sentenced by U.S. District Senior Judge Thomas McAvoy, realizes he’s fortunate to only be spending weekends behind bars.”

  3. Helen Bayes

    Thank you, David, for information about more aspects of war tax resistance.
    However I have no doubt about Joseph’s courageous witness and his sincerity. It does not seem helpful to the cause to criticise one person’s action and convictions with comments about what else he could/should have done – as well. None of us do everything that can/could be done, but each action adds to a movement.
    I am moved by this QS video: thank you to the QS folk.

  4. Deb Taylor

    Joseph O. is such a brave man – the IRS has a reputation for storming into people’s homes with a SWAT-type team.

    The movie America Freedom to Fascism investigates the unconstitutionality of the IRS – my link has since disappeared, but you can probably Google the movie (by Aaron Russo)

  5. Y.S

    Joseph O. has the courage to express his ideas, listen to himself and do what he thinks is right against the authority. I respect him. And I hope one day, a peace tax or a peace department in the US government or military could be established. At least it would makes people to think once more before they start a violent war.

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