Tax Refusal Letters

August 1, 1985

Letter to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, the Secretary of the Treasury, the President and the People of the United States of America Accompanying My 1984 Tax Return
August 15, 1985

RE: Federal Income Taxes

This letter is dedicated to a man named "Hue." He is a Vietnamese man who remains a vivid image in my mind and soul. As a former Air Force security officer in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam in 1969, I was an observer of bombing missions of villages after which I was supposed to assess damages. Hue was one elderly Vietnamese man who survived, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one’s point of view, one of those barbaric bombing attacks. Our eyes caught each other at about 200 feet and that profound encounter helped spark a moral journey of understanding planetary citizenship and what peace means at very deep levels within my being. That journey continues to evolve today. Hue represents the struggle and humanity, not ideology or embodiment of some blurred evil, of people throughout the world. He could be in El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Korea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, or anyplace else. There is voluminous violence and suffering in the world, and our super-power is substantially contributing to it.

For the past three years I have been working directly with and for Vietnam veterans in the United States who continue to experience problems, many from what I call moral dis-ease, from our war. The United States government and the people who furnish the legal and political basis to this government have not been willing to pay for the price of our war. Agent Orange issues, emotional and moral stress issues, homelessness in epidemic proportions, inadequate pensions and compensation disabilities, etc., continue to haunt or trouble a significant number of Vietnam veterans for which the Veterans Administration has been unwilling to adequately deal with. Those of us who have been advocates for our own veterans have turned to private resources or state governments for assistance as we cannot wait until we are all dead before reckoning with these issues.

As an ex-kill warrior, one matter that I learned well was that we cannot kill hearts and minds if we want to win them. Killing promotes killing as violence promotes violence. I also learned that I never wanted to participate in killing citizens anywhere on the planet. I cannot kill the citizens myself nor can I support others killing them in my name.

Therefore, I cannot financially support such activities. I grieve over the policies of my own country that plans, prepares, initiates, or wages a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participates in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of same. The United States has signed a number of treaties in our history that preclude the waging of wars of aggression. These treaties are part of the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the Constitution. Additionally, our country has signed the Nuremberg charter and principles which delineate the scope of individual responsibility in the face of illegal activities by a government. As I read the Nuremberg principles, complicity in the commission of crimes against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity is a crime under international law. As such, it is also part of the supreme law of the United States under the Constitution. Nuremberg also requires responsibility of individual citizens to abide by international law even when ordered contrary by his/her government. Article VI of our Constitution makes this individual responsibility supreme law over orders by the government.

As the United States is engaged in wars and aggression against citizens of other nations, and is conspiring to do so as well, and uses the threat of first strike weapons as a plan to wage aggressive war, such behavior is clearly in violation of a number of treaties, the Nuremberg principles, and the United States Constitution. As such, I cannot in good conscience pay these taxes. Furthermore, by so doing, I am upholding the Constitution of my own country.


S. Brian Willson


Attachments to 1040 Return, August 15, 1985

*Note to item #56 and item #68:
The self-employment portion of the total tax return will be paid only if the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Secretary of the Treasury certify to me in writing that no amount of the self-employment portion of the total tax return will in any way, either by direct payment or in form of loans or transfers of funds, be utilized for any overt or covert military or intelligence functions by any agency of the federal government or any other organization at the request of the federal government.

* Note to item #47 and item #49:
I represent approximately .000001% of all individual taxpayers in the United States. The military portion of the budget is approximately $300,000,000,000. My individual share of that military budget on an equal basis with all other individual taxpayers is $3000.

* * *


Letter Proclaiming Need for Tax Refusal published in The Valley Advocate, Springfield, Mass.
April 28, 1986


As Congress ponders granting further illegal military aid to terrorists in Central America, the North American people are being asked once again to pay in taxes a significant portion of their incomes to support the operations of the federal government. Reagan continues to reveal contempt for any cessation of the nuclear arms race by initiating further weapons testing. He exhibits contempt for the jurisdiction of the World Court when it relates to our law violations in Nicaragua. The press would have us believe that the latest Contadora peace talks in Central America broke down due to the intransigence of Nicaragua in not talking to the terrorists trying to overthrow them, when again the United States thwarts an agreement by insisting on continually funding those same terrorist invaders of Nicaragua in violation of a number of international laws. Such behavior on the part of the United States also violates our Constitution, because our treaties, and therefore international law, are incorporated as part of our Supreme Law.

Do we not have the inalienable right to have our government obey its own laws, to have our government convey truthful information when asking the people for consent of public policy, and to expect our elected representatives to carry out the powers which have been legally delegated to them? Do we not have the right under Amendments Nine and Ten to our Constitution, as well as the Nuremberg Principles, to take reasonable action to assure that our government operates within the bounds of Constitutional authority and international law?

After much thought, I have notified the federal government that to pay the taxes they say I owe would make me complicit in their continuing defiance of our Supreme Law. Instead, by refusing to pay, I am acting in compliance with our Constitution, our Supreme Law, and fortunately, my conscience. As M.L. King proclaimed, "Every person of human conviction must decide on the protest that best suits his or her convictions, but we must protest."

S. Brian Willson

* * *


A Letter About Tax Refusal

"With all due respect…I must refuse your request."

Dear Official of the Internal Revenue Service and/or Judge of the U.S, District Court, or other Judicial or Quasi-Judicial Officers:

I am aware of your request for my cooperation in producing monetary amounts or documents to aid in the collection of those amounts, to satisfy a debt that you claim I owe the U.S. government. I disagree vehemently with the basis for your claim of my indebtedness as I have explained
in previous writings and discussions with representatives of the IRS. Therefore I cannot honor your request(s).

This refusal on my part is not personally directed to you or any other person(s), nor is it due to any reluctance to support the need of the common good. Again, my previous communications explain my personal, philosophical, moral, legal, and Constitutional reasons for resistance and refusal to support illegal and immoral activities and expenditures of the U.S. government.

I have no assets to speak of. I have given away all funds received from the U.S. government as a result of our mutually agreed upon out-of-court settlement. As you are probably aware, the U.S. Attorney General agreed to payment of a sum of money in lieu of trial for the act of the U.S. Navy knowingly accelerating a munitions train to over three times the legal speed limit running over me and others while peacefully protesting the illegal shipment of munitions designed to murder and maim innocent human beings in Central America.

I am prepared to pursue acquisition of funds in the amount equal to that figure that the U.S. government claims I owe it. But, I will donate these funds directly to duly recognized non-profit organizations. I will not voluntarily pay any money to the U.S. government.

I am fully aware that by not cooperating with your request(s) I am extraordinarily vulnerable to being forced to serve substantial time in prison as well as being subjected to other forms of governmental interference into my life. I am as prepared as I can be to serve the prison time. I will serve this prison time without my two artificial legs in an as-is condition just as the U.S. government left me on the Concord, CA tracks after severing my legs and fracturing my skull. The Navy ambulance that arrived on the scene provided virtually no medical assistance and refused to transport me to a hospital causing a substantial delay in receipt of the emergency attention my traumatic injuries demanded. I will offer to you an earlier pair of artificial legs, a valuable asset I do possess, that perhaps can be used by another unfortunate victim of U.S. "low intensity" warfare being carried out in any one of a number of "Third World" countries. I also will decide at various times to partake in political and spiritual fasts for duration to be determined by personal discernment.

I would prefer to be tried in a public proceeding at which time I would have the opportunity to present the legal, as well as moral, basis for my actions. I am led to believe that no U.S. administrative or legal tribunal will allow me to substantively present my arguments based on international and U.S. Constitutional law and the Nuremberg Obligation. Thus I do not wish to waste precious funds and the valuable time and work of lawyers and others, in a futile effort. I hope that my example will provoke others to search their own consciences as to their own manner of exercising responsible and lawful citizenship in a society whose government is committing countless lawless and heinous criminal acts on a regular basis in many parts of the world. But no matter what others do, I must follow my own conscience.

The Nuremberg Obligation, one that the U.S. was so adamant in advocating as a standard under international law after conclusion of the Nuremberg trial following World War II, prohibits citizens from committing acts that are illegal under international law even when commanded to do so by one’s government and its officials. Nuremberg established the principle of individual responsibility for the crime of attacking international peace. SEE Jackson, Statement of Chief Counsel Upon Signing of the Agreement, 19 Temple L.Q. 169 (1945-6).

I have acquired voluminous evidence of the active involvement, directly or indirectly, of the U.S. government’s participation in crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This evidence has been developed from extensive reading of various books, reports and documents; from extensive interviews and discussions with former members of U.S. military, security and intelligence agencies; and from personal observations acquired during visits to a number of countries where the U.S. is or has been actively intervening in various overt and covert ways.

I also want it to be clear that I do not have some peculiar desire to spend time in prison or to subject myself to needless deprivation. I believe that in a democracy the ultimate legal and moral authority resides within the heart and mind of each citizen–in conscience. When this government commits a pattern of behavior that consistently violates its own laws, then the government has relinquished its authority to act on behalf of its citizenry. I must act according to my conscience.

I conclude by quoting from Henry David Thoreau’s 1849 essay on Civil Disobedience:


"If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the state to commit violence and shed innocent blood."

With all due respect for your position and perspective, I must refuse your request.


S. Brian Willson
Resident of United States of America
Citizen of Planet Earth


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