Ask Jenn Vicious: An Anarchist Buys Land

by: Jenn Vicious

In Our Words is both lucky to have stumbled across and proud to republish the advice column of  Jenn Vicious.  In Jenn’s own words (from her Facebook) she is:

Agony Aunt for radical communities. Because somebody had to say it.
Jenn Vicious is an advice-giver, life coach, and general all-round know-it-all. You probably have a question. Maybe it’s about polyamory, or what to wear to a court date, or how to support a friend through a hard time, or how to deal with a difficult person, or how to set boundaries with someone you care about, or what to say at a funeral, or how to break up with someone… you get the idea. I’m willing to bet that somewhere, deep in the darkest corners of your mind, you already know the answer. But sometimes it helps to hear someone else say it. That’s what I’m here for.
Do you have anything you would like to ask her?  Visit her tumblr.
I’m   a long-time anarchist with the goal of buying land. As the reality of reaching this goal drawers nearer, I am faced with a dilemma.  I have managed to accumulate my savings by working informally and under the table, but am told that if I do not pay taxes on that money now, it is likely to become an issue when I own  property.  While I understand the need to compromise and often do, giving the government thousands of dollars deeply conflicts with my values.  Is there a way to move forward?

– Anonymous


First of all, I want to point out that even if you manage to avoid paying income tax on this money, you still pay taxes all the time. Every time you buy anything, pretty much. Some of that tax is federal, some is state, and some is local. And I’m telling you this, because though there might be some ways to avoid paying the taxes, I’m not sure it’s worth it. Nonetheless, I have done an absurd amount of research to find some answers for you.

You, my friend, are a tax resistor, and there is a long history of tax resistance as a way to protest unjust governments (is there any other kind?) Gandhi did it, so you know it must be ok.

So, if you are going the Gandhi route, check out the National War Tax Resister Coordinating Committee website. Read it thoroughly. It has a lot of info about the history of tax resisting, and some tales of how much of a pain in the ass it can be. Also lots tips of how to do it, that’s the important part. You would think there would be some helpful libertarian sites out there as well, but there’s not. They are too busy ranting about how the IRS is illegal to actually provide any concrete information about how to not pay taxes. Thanks, wingers.

The best way to resist taxes is by flying low and staying under the radar of the IRS. It sounds like you’ve done that so far, getting paid in cash and whatnot. You can put your money in a bank account, but make sure it is in a bank account that does NOT pay interest (which is terrible financial advice, so only do this if you are avoiding taxes). The interest gets reported to the IRS. Our tax resistor friends also recommend switching banks every few years. But don’t get paranoid about having money in the bank, because it seems that the IRS has to send you a bunch of notices before they seize your money. So, if you get a bunch of notices from the IRS, withdraw your money.

Buying land is flying very high. That’s why people are telling you it is going to become an issue. When you buy land, you might consider putting it in a community land trust. Doing so is going to keep it out of your name, which is going to help with that flying low thing I was talking about. A land trust is kind of complicated, so you’ll have to get more specific help on that one when the time comes.

I suppose it is also possible to say that you have been making $9,000 a year for the past several years and saving most of it. That amount of income doesn’t need to be reported to the IRS.

Well, those are some starting points for you. I know it isn’t very DIY of me, but it would really be worth talking to a tax accountant, preferably one familiar with tax resistance, about all this. It will be totally worth whatever it costs for one session to have an expert look at your specific situation, taxes or no.

I would like to leave you with a final story. I met someone who runs a business. He’s a long-time anarchist and activist. I asked him how he dealt with taxes for his business. He told me that 15 years ago, or whenever he started his business, he just didn’t think capitalism was going to last that much longer. So he didn’t do anything about it. And it was starting to come back and bite him on the ass. Just something to think about.

Note: This article was reposted with permission, you can view the original here.

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