Text: H.R.4169 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (08/06/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 4169 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 4169

 To affirm the religious freedom of taxpayers who are conscientiously 
opposed to participation in war, to provide that the income, estate, or 
 gift tax payments of such taxpayers be used for nonmilitary purposes, 
  to create the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund to receive such tax 
    payments, to improve revenue collection, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             August 6, 2019

  Mr. Lewis introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                      Committee on Ways and Means

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To affirm the religious freedom of taxpayers who are conscientiously 
opposed to participation in war, to provide that the income, estate, or 
 gift tax payments of such taxpayers be used for nonmilitary purposes, 
  to create the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund to receive such tax 
    payments, to improve revenue collection, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund 
Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The free exercise of religion is an inalienable right, 
        protected by the First Amendment of the United States 
        Constitution.
            (2) Congress reaffirmed this right in the Religious Freedom 
        Restoration Act of 1993, as amended in 2000, which prohibits 
        the Federal Government from imposing a substantial burden on 
        the free exercise of religion unless it demonstrates that a 
        compelling government interest is achieved by the least 
        restrictive means.
            (3) Many people immigrated to America (including members of 
        the Quaker, Mennonite, and Church of the Brethren faiths) to 
        escape persecution for their refusal to participate in warfare, 
        yet during the First World War hundreds of conscientious 
        objectors were imprisoned in America for their beliefs. Some 
        died while incarcerated as a result of mistreatment.
            (4) During the Second World War, ``alternative civilian 
        service'' was established in lieu of military service, by the 
        Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, to accommodate a 
        wide spectrum of religious beliefs and practices. Subsequent 
        case law also has expanded these exemptions, and has described 
        this policy as one of ``. . . long standing tradition in this 
        country . . .'' affording ``the important value of reconciling 
        individuality of belief with practical exigencies whenever 
        possible. It dates back to colonial times and has been 
        perpetuated in State and Federal conscription statutes'', and 
        ``has roots deeply embedded in history'' (Welsh v. United 
        States, 1970, Justice Harlan concurring). During and since the 
        Second World War thousands of conscientious objectors provided 
        essential staff for mental hospitals and volunteered as human 
        test subjects for arduous medical experiments, and provided 
        other service for the national health, safety and interest.
            (5) Conscientious objectors have sought alternative service 
        for their tax payments since that time. They request legal 
        relief from government seizure of their homes, livestock, 
        automobiles, and other property; and from having bank accounts 
        attached, wages garnished, fines imposed, and imprisonment 
        threatened, to compel them to violate their personal and 
        religious convictions.
            (6) Conscientious objection to participation in war in any 
        form based upon moral, ethical, or religious beliefs is 
        recognized in Federal law, with provision for alternative 
        service; but no such provision exists for taxpayers who are 
        conscientious objectors and who are compelled to participate in 
        war through the payment of taxes to support military 
        activities.
            (7) The Joint Committee on Taxation has certified that a 
        tax trust fund, providing for conscientious objector taxpayers 
        to pay their full taxes for nonmilitary purposes, would 
        increase Federal revenues.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    (a) Designated Conscientious Objector.--For purposes of this Act, 
the term ``designated conscientious objector'' means a taxpayer who is 
opposed to participation in war in any form based upon the taxpayer's 
sincerely held moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or training (within 
the meaning of section 6 of the Military Selective Service Act (50 
U.S.C. 3806(j))), and who has certified these beliefs in writing to the 
Secretary of the Treasury in such form and manner as the Secretary 
provides.
    (b) Military Purpose.--For purposes of this Act, the term 
``military purpose'' means any activity or program which any agency of 
the Government conducts, administers, or sponsors and which effects an 
augmentation of military forces or of defensive and offensive 
intelligence activities, or enhances the capability of any person or 
nation to wage war, including the appropriation of funds by the United 
States for--
            (1) the Department of Defense;
            (2) the intelligence community (as defined in section 3(4) 
        of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3003(4)));
            (3) the Selective Service System;
            (4) activities of the Department of Energy that have a 
        military purpose;
            (5) activities of the National Aeronautics and Space 
        Administration that have a military purpose;
            (6) foreign military aid; and
            (7) the training, supplying, or maintaining of military 
        personnel, or the manufacture, construction, maintenance, or 
        development of military weapons, installations, or strategies.

SEC. 4. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM PEACE TAX FUND.

    (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall establish 
an account in the Treasury of the United States to be known as the 
``Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund'', for the deposit of income, gift, 
and estate taxes paid by or on behalf of taxpayers who are designated 
conscientious objectors. The method of deposit shall be prescribed by 
the Secretary of the Treasury in a manner that minimizes the cost to 
the Treasury and does not impose an undue burden on such taxpayers.
    (b) Use of Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund.--Monies deposited in 
the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund shall be allocated annually to any 
appropriation not for a military purpose.
    (c) Report.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall report to the 
Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the 
Senate each year on the total amount transferred into the Religious 
Freedom Peace Tax Fund during the preceding fiscal year and the 
purposes for which such amount was allocated in such preceding fiscal 
year. Such report shall be printed in the Congressional Record upon 
receipt by the Committees. The privacy of individuals using the Fund 
shall be protected.
    (d) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that any 
increase in revenue to the Treasury resulting from the creation of the 
Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund shall be allocated in a manner 
consistent with the purposes of the Fund.
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