41 Peacemakers Refuse to Pay War Taxes

From the New York Times:

41 Pacifists Oppose Tax

Refusal to Pay Whole Income Levy Laid to “War” Spending

An increase of persons refusing to pay full income tax was announced by Peacemakers, a pacifist organization with offices at 2013 Fifth Avenue. The group reported that twenty-five men and sixteen women had declared publicly that they would refuse to pay the entire tax because they were “unwilling to contribute to preparations for war.”

The organization added that some of the forty-one persons would pay no portion of their tax, “since they maintain that the major activity of the Federal Government at this time is war.” A.J. Muste, a Presbyterian minister who is secretary of the organization, was opposed to both World Wars.


The Vote

From the issue of The Vote:

A “Person” Only in Finance.

In the Court of Session on Lord Cullen had under consideration the action by the Lord Advocate on behalf of the Inland Revenue Commissioners against Janie Allan, residing at Greystone, Prestwick, Ayrshire, for payment of £109, being the amount of supertax due by her on her income under the Finance Act, . The Pursuer maintained that the word “person” in the Finance Act included females as well as males.

Miss Allan, who conducted her own case, contended that so long as women were denied any voice in the expenditure of money derived from taxation they were perfectly justified in refusing to pay taxes. She alluded to the recently added injustice of being forced to contribute to the payment of Members of Parliament with no voice in their election, no means of calling them to account. If she was not a person within the meaning of the Franchise Act she should not be considered a person within the meaning of the Finance Act.

Lord Cullen granted decree against the defender in terms of the conclusions of the summons, with expenses. In his opinion, his Lordship said:— The defender, Miss Allan, was, under the statutes relating to Income-tax, assessed for supertax for , the sum payable under the assessment being £109 1s. The assessment was in conformity with a return of her income made by the defender for the year in question. The first plea in defence is to the effect that the defender is not due the said tax; and the ground stated for it is that, as under the law relating to the Parliamentary franchise, women are not persons entitled to vote, they are not persons subjected to payment of Income-tax within the meaning of the taxing statutes founded on. This plea is, in my opinion, untenable, it being clear on a construction of these statutes that women are not excluded from their scope. The second plea in defence is to the effect that esto the statutes subject women to liability for Income-tax, they are “unjust and oppressive,” in respect that women are not admitted to exercise the Parliamentary franchise. This, however, can form no answer, in a Court of Law, to an action brought to enforce the statutes according to their terms.

Also from the same issue:

A Distinguished Tax Resister.

[Mary Russell] The Duchess of Bedford has refused to pay property tax for Prince’s Skating Rink, to protest against the way in which the question of Woman Suffrage has been treated by the Government.

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