About the Bill

The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, H.R. 1947


On April 5, 2017, U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) re-introduced the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill. The Bill’s number in the 115th Congress is H.R. 1947.

This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to establish in the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund for the deposit of income, gift, and estate taxes paid by or on behalf of taxpayers: (1) who are designated conscientious objectors opposed to participation in war in any form based upon their sincerely held moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or training (within the meaning of the Military Selective Service Act); and (2) who have certified their beliefs in writing.

Amounts deposited in the Fund shall be allocated annually to any appropriation not for a military purpose. Treasury shall report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on the total amount transferred into the Fund during the preceding fiscal year and the purposes for which such amount was allocated. The privacy of individuals using the Fund shall be protected.

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Your tax dollars at work

According to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, growth in military spending due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a run-away Pentagon budget outpaced even the rapid growth in spending for the huge Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid entitlement programs in the last fiscal year (FY03), the year for which we recently filed our tax returns. An estimated 41.9 percent of our federal income tax dollars were spent on past and present military activities.

This is an increase over federal outlays in FY02 when roughly 40 percent of our federal income tax dollars were spent for military purposes. According to the War Resisters League, for Fiscal Year 2004, 27% ($459 billion) of Federal Funds Outlays will be for current military expenses, and 20% ($345 billion) will be for past military expenses, for a total of 47% ($804 billion). The Center for Defense Information (CDI) states that, with respect to Fiscal Year 2004,

According to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, growth in military spending due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a run-away Pentagon budget outpaced even the rapid growth in spending for the huge Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid entitlement programs in the last fiscal year (FY03), the year for which we recently filed our tax returns. An estimated 41.9 percent of our federal income tax dollars were spent on past and present military activities. This is an increase over federal outlays in FY02 when roughly 40 percent of our federal income tax dollars were spent for military purposes. According to the War Resisters League, for Fiscal Year 2004, 27% ($459 billion) of Federal Funds Outlays will be for current military expenses, and 20% ($345 billion) will be for past military expenses, for a total of 47% ($804 billion). The Center for Defense Information (CDI) states that, with respect to Fiscal Year 2004,

CDI has some very detailed and comprehensive information about the US military budget for Fiscal Year 2004 on their Web site, including links to government figures from the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Defense.


How the Peace Tax Fund Bill would work?

The Peace Tax Fund Bill would affect the “current military” portion of the U.S. budget. The Peace Tax Fund Bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit taxpayers conscientiously opposed to participating in war to have their income, estate or gift tax payments spent for non-military purposes only. The Bill excuses no taxpayers from paying their full tax liability.


Where the Peace Tax Fund money would go?

The full federal taxes of conscientious objectors would be placed into a special trust fund in the Treasury, called the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund. The Treasury would be allowed to spend this money on any governmental program that does not fulfill a military purpose.