Bridget J. Crawford (Tempo; Google Scholar) & W. Edward “Ted” Afield (Georgia State; Google Scholar), Yesterday’s Protestor Could Be Tomorrow’s Saint: Reimagining the Tax System By the Work of Dorothy Day, 76 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2023):
When is the nonpayment of taxes justified by conscientious objections? Legendary Catholic social activist Dorothy Day refused to pay federal earnings taxes, as a result of she was an avowed pacifist who additionally cautioned towards authorities overreach into the lives of residents. This text asks whether or not the tax system ought to accommodate those that have ethical objections, and in that case, how accomplish that. By the lens of Dorothy Day, who devoted her grownup life to staff’ rights, pacificism, and repair to the poor, this text makes three contributions to the dialog in regards to the administration of a good tax system.
First, the article examines Day on her personal phrases. It’s tough, however not unattainable, to reconcile Day’s tax resistance with the Catholic social educating on taxation that was rising throughout her lifetime.
Second, the article considers what insights Catholic doctrine provides into the construction and substance of a simply tax system. Though there’s not as a lot theological writing on taxation as there’s on different social points, Catholic social educating does present some steering in regards to the goal, type and operation of a simply tax system.
From these insights, the article strikes to counsel particular enhancements to the tax system: formal mechanisms that carry conscientious objectors into tax compliance; enhanced communication in regards to the tax system’s function in administering the nation’s simplest anti-poverty packages; and enforcement priorities that don’t disproportionately goal the poor. Whereas these proposals may not be adequate to have precipitated a steadfast antiwar protestor like Day to pay taxes, they illuminate a path towards much-needed reforms of the federal earnings tax system.