Taxation is Theft!

It’s tax season, and you know what that means. The government is making its annual calculations on how much YOU owe the hungry Washington machine. The tax code has never been lengthier and more complex. To make matters worse the government is blatantly wasting your money on absurd programs, further adding to our incomprehensibly large national debt.

  • Where exactly are your tax dollars going?
  • Are there examples of absurd government waste of tax revenue, and what are they?
  • Just how complicated is the tax code, and is there a better way?

YAL’s national #AxTheTax campaign will allow you to pose these questions to your student body and provide the answers necessary to show them that taxation really is theft and that liberty is the way to a more fiscally responsible future.

#AxTheTax is strategically scheduled to take place during tax season. Your chapter should plan to host your event the week leading up to April 15th or the week just after. This will allow you to spark a conversation with students while taxation is fresh on their minds.

Join YAL across the country in “Ax The Tax” so that you can raise awareness about this crucial issue.

The three goals of every activism event are to:

  1. Educate new students in the ideas of liberty
  2. Recruit new members for your YAL chapter
  3. Earn media attention for your event to expand its outreach
YAL has gone all out to provide you the resources you need to bring this electrifying message to your campus. We’re providing two unique ways for you to engage students on this issue as you recruit as well as brand new educational materials for your recruitment table and your follow-up meeting to dive deeper into the issues. Be sure to follow these steps to make sure your event has an impact on campus.
  1. Reach out to YAL’s Leadership Team for support: YAL’s Leadership Team is your number-one tool for success. Find a YAL leader near you who can help you plan and execute your activism event. Your Regional Director and the State Chairs in your area are your best resource for learning how to organize an effective activism event. If either position has not yet been filled, learn more and apply to join the Leadership Team here.
  2. Apply for resources: YAL is offering FREE resources and recommendations to every participating YAL chapter:
    • An activism grant for up to $100
    • A recruitment kit packed with materials, clip boards, sidewalk chalk, books, flyers, and everything else you’ll need to draw students to your chapter.
  3. Always recruit for liberty: With every activism event you do, you should recruit new members. Print out plenty of YAL sign-up sheets to sign up interested students. When your event is over, use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page. Once you upload member information, each new member will get an email asking them to join your chapter.
  4. Make your plans: Meet up with your chapter members and plan the dates and details for your activism event. Take some time to brainstorm and put your ideas on paper. After a productive meeting, you should walk away with a clear and actionable plan with specific tasks assigned to your members.

Always keep in mind the four most important goals for any Ax The Tax activism project:

1. Recruit new members
2. Educate your classmates
3. Earn media attention

4. Reform campus policies that constrain liberty

For each activism event, there are two major components:

  1. An on-campus tabling or clip-boarding exercise, including a visual display to recruit new members and promote your upcoming Ax the Tax.
  2. A large chapter meeting/event to educate all attendees and discuss the issue you are addressing. This could be a speaker, PowerPoint presentation, politician, professor, movie, and/or general discussion.

Choose an event

Use one or both of these activism ideas to make your Ax the Tax event eye-catching and effective.

1. Ax the tax code

Why attempt to just explain how complex and burdensome the tax code is to your fellow students when you can show them! In 1913, our whole tax law was 27 pages. It’s now over 4 million words and 9,000 bloated pages. From 2001-2012 alone, there were 4,600 changes — more than one a day.

Your chapter can request a stipend to get enough pages of paper to show the extensiveness of the tax code and display it next to your recruitment table. This will be a great way to start a conversation with passing students and show just how absurd tax policy in the U.S. is today.


2. Test student’s knowledge with your Ax the Tax interactive quiz

Included in your Taxation is Theft activism kit is an interactive display for you to use to get sign ups on campus in a fun and new way. Advocates of liberty know that the government has some seriously wasteful uses of tax revenue, but chances are the students on your campus are less convinced — at least until you can bring them up to speed!

Your interactive quiz will have different questions on it regarding tax policy and government spending. As students pass by your recruitment table, ask them if they want to take the quiz to win a small prize or some candy for correct answers. Once the student guesses whether the statement is true or false, lift up the flap to display the real answer for them.

You’ll want to make sure you familiarize yourself with the questions and answers before you start quizzing students.


After just a few statements being revealed as true or false, they will start to see just how much of their money is feeding the government machine and going towards wasteful (or dangerous) spending.

Gear Up

To help you execute your activism event on campus YAL is providing you with a brand new set of resources and the ability to request an activism stipend for a tax code display. Included in your Ax The Tax kit will be the interactive quiz display, a customized palm card with talking points on tax policy, and tons of literature for you to pass out to students you sign up!

Check out new the YAL Freedom Note:



Reserve a high-traffic area to table on campus once you have picked your dates for execution. As a recognized student organization, it should be as simple as contacting your student affairs office and jumping through the necessary hoops to receive permission to table.

If your YAL chapter is not yet officially recognized by your university and it won’t let you reserve tabling space, don’t fear. Get creative, and always remember that the table doesn’t get recruits: you do.

If your campus gives you any trouble and tries to relegate your activism to a “free speech zone,” please contact us so we can help you defeat these unconstitutional regulations.

Reserve a classroom and the necessary video equipment, so you can host a film screening, a speaker, or give a presentation. Predict how many students you think will attend the film screening, and reserve a room to accommodate.

Be sure to check out the “Follow Up” section below to see details on some live streaming events that YAL will be hosting and your chapter can tune into.

Pro tip: Always reserve rooms that are only big enough to accommodate 75% of the amount of people you expect to show up. It is better for everyone to think that your event ended up having standing room only when you host it in a smaller room rather than think that hardly anyone showed up when you host it in a large auditorium.

We strongly suggest that you walk through the room before the event, so you understand how the equipment works and how to set up the room properly.

Once you know what event you want to conduct on your campus, be sure to follow these simple steps in order to make it the best thing your student body has ever seen: 
Set up your display

You will want to make sure to set up your display of the tax code or your interactive quiz in a high traffic area on campus. Make sure you set up your materials in a way that will catch peoples attention and make it easier for you to explain how out of control our current tax system is. Remember though, your display alone will not be enough to maximize sign ups, it is up to you to engage and empower students!

Get students to participate

Approach every student that walks by your table. You never know who could be a high-quality member of your chapter. Post colorful flyers all around campus and make a Facebook event to advertise your tabling event and your follow up meeting.

Make sure you ask students if they want to win a prize or some candy by answering questions on the interactive quiz.  This will get students involved and give you a great opportunity to educate students and get them interested in your follow up meeting.

If your chapter chooses to buy pages to display the tax code, ask students if they realize what that stack of paper represents. When they do not know inform them that is how out of control our tax code is. Share with them that you will be exploring the issues of tax policy and regulation in more depth at your follow-up event, and directly ask them if they can come.

Get everyone to take their picture, and then share from your YAL chapter’s facebook using the hashtag: #AxTheTax



Stay focused. The purpose of every activism event is to build your chapter and grow the youth movement for liberty. This is the only way that your YAL chapter can grow and maintain a lasting presence on campus. Make sure you have plenty of sign up sheets at your table!

Sign up everyone you possibly can, and make sure to upload their contact information to your chapter page using the member upload tool after you are done.

Pro tip: Ask every student who you get to stop at your table to sign up for a reminder about the follow up event, and ask them if they can make it to the event. Students are more likely to follow through on something they verbally commit to.

Distribute flyers at your table, and post them around campus to promote your follow-up event. Be sure to create a Facebook event and invite all your friends and YAL members. Write with chalk on campus sidewalks to educate students about your activism effort and promote your follow up event. Think of creative ways to get the word out. You can never promote too much!

Earn media attention

Even if it’s your campus paper, getting media attention for your activism event can reach hundreds, if not thousands, more people. Use these resources to learn how you can make the news at the campus, local, state, or even national level!

Host a productive follow-up meeting/event

You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Your first meeting after your tabling event should set the proper tone you want to convey as a chapter. That’s why YAL created a guide to running a successful meeting so that you can know exactly how to retain your new members with your meeting.

Once you’ve gotten as many sign ups for your chapter as possible, it’s time to mobilize these students for your follow-up event to dive deeper into the issues surrounding tax policy and government waste.

National Live-Stream Events

We are excited to announce that YAL has two, nationally live-broadcasted Virtual Liberty Speakers events scheduled that your chapter can organize around! Just organize your follow-up meeting to coincide with one of these events featuring a qualified speaker on tax policy for an easy and valuable event or go above and beyond and organize something original.

  • “The Robin Hood Myth: Why Taxing the Rich Won’t Work” featuring Prof. Antony Davies — Wednesday, April 12th @ 8:30pm ET
  • “Taxation is Theft: Is There a Better Way?” featuring Lawrence Reed, President of FEE — Tuesday, April 18th (Tax Day) @ 8:30pm ET
Both live streams will be hosted at
To help advertise for the event, download and customize custom fliers for your campus here!
You can tweet your questions @YALiberty using the hashtag #AxTheTax for a chance to have your question asked on the national live stream.
If your chapter cannot participate in the nationally live-screened events, consider bringing a speaker of your own to campus, requesting one of YAL’s other Virtual Liberty Speakers, or hosting a documentary screening on tax policy.
You can also download YAL’s customizable Ax the Tax PowerPoint presentation. It includes informative videos, discussion prompts, and it can help you organize your entire meeting!

Follow up or fail

Sign-ups are worth nothing if you don’t execute a proper follow up with each new contact you have and get them to your follow-up event.

This is the perfect time to talk with the new students that you engaged with during your project about the importance of our tax system and how abusive it has become.

Follow up in multiple ways

Don’t rely on email follow ups: hardly anyone reads them besides the government. Be sure to give each interested student a personal phone call and ask them if they can come to your next meeting.

Pro tip: Have the YAL members who recruit at your table put their initials next to the students they sign up. It will be easier for your members to convince people they actually talked to at the table to come to the follow-up meeting by calling them.

After you’ve called everyone, send a follow up text the day of your event to round up any stragglers who wouldn’t show up otherwise. Try something like this:

“Hey [name], this is [name] from YAL. Thanks for taking our interactive tax quiz the other day. It was great meeting you. We’re all getting ready for our follow-up meeting and social right now. Who are you bringing with you?”

Email will only serve as a good reminder to those whom you’ve already reached by phone, text, and social media.


Host your event to feature a speaker, a documentary screening or a presentation as soon as possible. Your event should be within a couple days of your tabling activities so students don’t forget.

Schedule the meeting during an evening time slot which will conflict with the fewest number of classes possible, and don’t schedule events (other than socials) on weekends — don’t give your new recruits any reason not to attend!

At the meeting, begin by introducing YAL and explain how to get involved in your chapter. Next, screen your film or give your speaker the floor. After the meeting, offer an opportunity to socialize by going out for pizza, drinks, or whatever works best for your chapter to discuss the meeting and the ideas of liberty.

Conduct follow ups consistently even after students have come to their first YAL meeting. Consistent communication with students is the only way to ensure that they establish lasting friendships within your chapter, and therefore, stay involved after their first exposure to YAL.

Use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page.

You can greatly increase the impact of your chapter’s activism efforts by documenting and sharing your story with other YAL activists on the YAL national blog within one week of your event. If you’re a chapter officer, it’s simple: Click here.

Learn how to properly document your activism event. Read this quick guide or watch this short (and funny) video to learn how you can submit the best activism blog posts.

  • Have detailed reports: Post all your pictures, give us all the details, and share with us how students reacted to your activism.
  • Include your best pictures and video: Take as many photos as you can including action shots and group photos. Aim for at least 5 awesome pictures in your report. Include short videos (about 3-4 minutes). Make them upbeat, and mix in some music. Post your video to YouTube and embed the video in your chapter report.
  • Include how many recruits you got: A primary goal of every activism event is to recruit new members into your YAL chapter. Share in your blog post how many sign-ups you got, how many participants you had in your event, and how many students you engaged overall.
  • Include all of your earned media: Chapters that earn media attention reach a much wider audience and greater respect on campus. Include links to all of your media coverage in your report.
Sharing your story is what will really make your chapter a rockstar chapter! The way you share your story will help hundreds of other leaders learn what you are doing on campus and how to follow in your footsteps. Plus it will help the thousands of people who view our page understand what we are doing on campus
Sharing your story WILL make you a top leader! 

Once your chapter has conducted a successful Ax the Tax event it will pay to have a social to bring everyone together, celebrate your hard work, and provide an opportunity for your new recruits to feel welcomed into the group.

After your follow-up meeting, consider hosting a social. You can go out to a local pizza pub, a nearby bar, or do something more creative like go to one of your school’s football games together.

People may first become interested in your YAL chapter because of the ideas of liberty, but no one will stay as a member unless your chapter proves to be a source of camaraderie and friendship for them.

Remember liberty brings people together, and this is a great opportunity to bring people together! The way you celebrate your event will take your chapter from a group of people who meet on campus and turn it into a family who is passionate about liberty.

Use this momentum for your next activism project!

Through conducting a successful activism effort, you won’t convince everyone to join your chapter, but you’ll see your membership grow quickly. You’ll be thankful you put in the effort when you have a record-setting turnout at your next chapter meeting!

Remember, every event you do on campus should be used as a launching pad for your next big project so don’t let your momentum end with this event! Use this energy to mobilize for your next big activism project. Check out more of YAL’s National Activism projects.

Contact your Regional Director to help you plan your event!