Monday, August 30, 2010

Court Rejects Quaker's Challenge To Use Of His Tax Payments For Military

In Moore- Backman v. United States, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88547 (D AZ, Aug. 24, 2010), an Arizona federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88548, June 28, 2010) and dismissed a complaint by a Quaker that the use of his federal income tax payments for military spending substantially burdens his religious exercise in violation of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. Plaintiff sought return of a portion of a refund that was not paid to him but was instead applied by the government to offset prior taxes he did not pay because he objected to their use. He also sought an order requiring the government to apply his tax payments solely to non-military uses.

The court held that the action for a refund should be dismissed because plaintiff never first filed an administrative claim for a refund. Plaintiff's request for an order directing the United States to apply his taxes to non-military purposes is not barred by the Declaratory Judgment Act or the Anti-Injunction Act because it is not a challenge to the collection or assessment of taxes. However, the court concluded that there was no free exercise or RFRA violation because under relevant case law the Government is not required to conduct its own internal affairs in a way that comports with an individual's religious beliefs.