Each month, many of us unknowingly contribute to the war policies we resolutely oppose — because there is a 3% federal excise tax on local telephone service that helps to pay for them.
This internet-based campaign began in 2003 to oppose the U.S. invasion and war in Iraq, but telephone tax resistance has a long history in the peace movement. In 2005, due to lawsuits against the IRS, the federal excise tax on long distance service was repealed, so today fewer people are affected by the excise tax, which is only applied to local-only (usually landline) phone service.
Thousands of people continue to Hang Up On War! as another way to strengthen their nonviolent resistance to the “endless war” policy of the U.S. government while reducing the flow of their money to war. Hang Up On War! encourages participants to take their resisted phone tax money and give it to groups working to heal the wounds of war.
The sponsoring organizations of Hang Up On War! have opposed the war against Iraq and Afghanistan, the ongoing military occupations, and the endless war on terrorism, which violates human rights and international law and has cost U.S. taxpayers — and future generations — hundreds of billions of dollars. Our states and cities face unprecedented deficits and cutbacks of vital services and programs while these wars rage on.
Hang Up On War! calls on individuals to refuse to pay their federal telephone excise tax, an act of civil disobedience, which sends a message to Washington that says “Not With Our Money.” See the “How To Resist” page for more information.
An interesting note on the Maine Public Advocate’s website about the charges on phone bills: Next to “Federal Excise Tax” they added, “3% (still collecting for the Spanish American War).” Perhaps phone tax resisters have had a wider impact over the decades than we realized! See the notation on the Advocate website. —Feb. 2013