Tax Resistance in Catalonia, the U.S., Scotland, and Greece

Some bits and pieces from here and there:

  • Esteban Duarte at BloombergBusiness has written up a rare English-language report on the tax resistance strategy of Catalan separatists. Excerpt:

    [T]he group is encouraging Catalans to use an arcane legal formula to pay their taxes to an escrow account controlled by the regional government. That would potentially deny more than 8 billion euros ($9 billion) to the Spanish state, which is legally entitled to collect taxes directly in Catalonia and most of the rest of country

    The technique allows taxpayers to meet their legal obligations to the state before the regional government transfers the money to Madrid. If the dispute over Catalan sovereignty turns nasty, the regional government can then withhold revenue from Spain without exposing voters to legal or financial reprisals from the central government.

  • American peace activist and war tax resister Kathy Kelly is profiled at War Tax Talk. Excerpt:

    “One of the most important spiritual directors in my life has been the Internal Revenue Service. Janis Joplin’s lyric, ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,’ comes to mind. War tax refusers learn ways to become impervious to collection, and that generally means finding ways to live without owning property, relying on savings, or growing attached to a job that one couldn’t leave in the event of an IRS notice about wage garnishment.

    “Becoming a war tax refuser was one of the simplest decisions I’ve ever made and one of the easiest decisions to maintain. I can’t imagine ever changing my mind.”

  • The War Resisters League have come out with their annual U.S. Federal Budget Pie Chart, which purports to tell you “where your income purporting tax money really goes.” This is based on the Obama administration’s budget proposal for , which is more than usually an exercise in showmanship as the Republicans who control Congress will get the final say. Still, the chart makes for a useful conversation starter in some contexts.
  • Scotland’s parliament has approved a bill that effectively grants an amnesty to people who refused to pay Thatcher’s poll tax and who have, until now, been considered to have an enforceable tax debt.
  • In Greece, too, the new government has moved to make things easier for those who practiced tax refusal in recent years. Such resisters can, if they agree to begin paying something, have large hunks of their arrears written-off, and can make plans to pay the rest in up to 100 small installments without any interest of penalties. As in the case of Scotland, critics are suggesting that these moves will encourage future tax resisters to be more bold in the hopes that they too might benefit from a future amnesty.