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Wednesday, February 20, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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War Foes Urge Withholding Of Taxes

Five anti-war groups yesterday widened protests against the Persian Gulf War to include the Internal Revenue Service, urging citizens to withhold at least $1 from the IRS this year.

The groups want those withheld dollars sent to the Alternative Revenue Service (ARS) through use of its Form 1990, a parody of IRS Form 1090. Donors were asked to include with their IRS form a letter saying their tax payment is $1 short because of a donation to the ARS.

The ARS will distribute those dollars to needy citizens, said Carolyn Stevens of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.

Stevens said the ARS does not have an IRS tax-charitable exemption.

Other organizations taking part are the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign, the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the University Friends Meeting.

In urging public participation to ``choke the military budget,'' speakers at a news conference said they believe donors face little risk of IRS wrath because the amount of money withheld by each taxpayer is small.

Stevens said people who have withheld Vietnam War surcharge payments from their telephone-bill payments have not been prosecuted by the IRS.

Joseph Cospito, a Vietnam War veteran and a teacher, said he has not paid federal taxes since 1968, ``except for a couple years during the Carter administration,'' and ``the IRS has done nothing to me yet . . .

``I feel a tremendous sense of shame for what we are,'' Cospito said, referring to the military actions of the United States. ``Each president cares less and less for people.''

One speaker, Jan Cate, and her husband, the Rev. William Cate, tangled with the IRS in the 1980s in a protest over nuclear weapons being bought with tax dollars.

The Cates withheld 10 percent of their tax payments. Jan Cate said: ``The IRS came and got it from our bank account. This is a significant way to object to the arms race.

``Violence is the ultimate way to solve world disagreements,'' she said, adding that ``withholding taxes is a way we can starve the war machine.''

Another speaker, Vietnam veteran Hank Connelly, said he is living off income from the sale of a home and recently applied for several jobs paying so little money he would be below the minimum income for taxpayers.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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