, Connecticut , United States
|| June 07, 1896
|| January 00, 1975
|Last Modifed||Thomas Walker|
Aug 17, 2009 01:55pm
|Info||Vivien Kellems was a Connecticut industrialist who fought the U.S. federal government for over 25 years over withholding under 26 USC §3402, and other aspects of income tax in the United States. She was also a fervent supporter of voting reform and the Equal Rights Amendment. |
Kellems received a BA from the University of Oregon in 1918, where she became the only woman on the debate team. She went on to earn a masters degree in economics, and worked towards a PhD at Columbia University and the University of Edinburgh.
In 1927, she founded Kellems Cable Grips, Inc., in Connecticut, based on a patent for an invention in the area by her brother. In 1948, she refused to collect withholding taxes from her employees on behalf of the government, stating, "if they wanted me to be their agent, they'd have to pay me, and I want a badge." She was interviewed about her tax opposition on "Meet the Press" on September 26, 1948 at a time when women rarely appeared on the show. She surrendered her case when continued pursuit of it threatened to bankrupt her company, but continued to challenge that and other aspects of the income tax for the rest of her life, saying in a 1975 Los Angeles Times interview that "[o]ur tax law is a 1,598-page hydra-headed monster and I’m going to attack and attack and attack until I have ironed out every fault in it." From 1965 until her death, Kellems reportedly only sent blank returns to the IRS. Her stands against the income tax system have made Kellems a mother figure to the tax protester movement.