New Zealand Quakers Expected to Resist New War Tax

An interesting note from the edition of the Wanganui Herald of New Zealand:

It is expected that the entire community of Quakers will object to pay the income-tax which is about to be levied as a war tax. In years gone by the Quakers always refused to pay war taxes, and the collectors had frequently to distrain upon their property to recover the money. Whether they will have to do so when the new tax comes to be collected remains to be seen.

This is after the point when war tax resistance seems to have mostly stopped or gone underground in American Quaker meetings.

Reuters carried this report on :

Chavez foes tear up tax forms

Foes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tore up income-tax forms on as they added a national tax revolt to their five-week-old strike that has throttled the nation’s crucial oil exports.

Waving Venezuelan flags and blowing whistles, thousands of anti-Chavez demonstrators marched to government tax offices in east Caracas on the 37th day of an opposition strike aimed at forcing the leftist leader to resign and call early elections.

The grueling shutdown has strangled oil output and shipments by the world’s No. 5 petroleum exporter.

“We are not going to pay taxes until this government goes,” 52-year-old housewife Belkis Soto said as she took part in the march. Many protesters waved tax declaration forms, which they then ripped up outside the tax offices.

The disruption to Venezuela’s strategic oil industry has jolted world oil markets and bled the Chavez’s government’s economic lifeline, costing it millions of dollars a day.

The opposition has called on individuals and firms to stop paying taxes, whether income or sales taxes.

But the strike has so far failed to force Chavez to bow to opposition demands for him to quit. The populist president, a former paratrooper who led a coup attempt in and was elected president , has dug in his heels, vowing to break the strike and survive.

Speaking on at a school in west Caracas, Chavez accused his foes of “trying to break the state coffers.”

“With the oil strike, we’re going to start the year with a lot of economic difficulties,” he said, without elaborating.

He warned opponents they would be breaking the law if they refused to pay taxes. Tax authorities say offenders face fines and prison terms ranging from six months to seven years.

Some analysts questioned the impact of a tax rebellion in a nation where tax evasion is widespread.

Tensions high

Tensions have been running high since anti-Chavez demonstrators clashed with supporters of the president in fierce street battles on also involving troops and police. Two Chavez supporters were shot and killed, triggering accusations between the government and its foes, who blame the president for the killings of opposition protesters last year.

Chavez, who survived a short-lived coup in , has condemned the strike and the tax rebellion as the work of “traitors” and “terrorists.” He accuses his foes of trying to overthrow him in another coup.

His opponents say the left-wing policies of his self-proclaimed “revolution,” which include a nationalistic oil policy and increased state intervention in the economy, are dragging the country toward ruin and Cuban-style communism.

The strike gripping the oil industry has disrupted oil shipments to the United States, which normally obtains more than 13% of its crude imports from Venezuela.

But oil prices, which rose close to two-year highs last week, fell heavily on as leading OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia pushed the oil exporters’ cartel for a hefty oil output increase to fill a gap left by the Venezuela strike.

London Brent lost 51 cents to $US29.69 a barrel by late afternoon. US crude fell 98 cents to $US30.92 a barrel.

The government insists strike-hit oil operations are being restored to normal. Striking executives in the state oil giant PDVSA, many of whom have been fired, deny that.

Potentially adding to the problems from the oil strike, which has caused shortages of gasoline and cooking gas, Venezuela’s bank workers said they would decide on a proposed 48-hour halt to all banking operations.

Many major industries and shops remain closed and many private schools and universities are not starting classes.

The opposition is setting its sights on a referendum scheduled by electoral authorities to vote on a single question: should Chavez voluntarily resign?

But the poll is nonbinding, and the president, whose term is scheduled to end in early , has said he will ignore the results, even if he loses massively.

Talks between the government and the opposition, brokered by the Organization of American States, have so far failed to agree on the timing of elections.

Chavez tells his foes they must wait until after , halfway through his current term, when the constitution allows the holding of a binding referendum on his rule.

The anti-Chavez unrest that the article alludes to had been going on , but this tax strike was more of a “last hurrah” than a real escalation. The strikes and other civil disobedience petered out and the opposition focused on holding a binding referendum to remove Chavez from office. This recall referendum was held in , but it lost, and Chavez continued to cement his hold on political power.

The Vote

From the issue of The Vote:

The Writ Against Our Secretary.

In the midst of her preparations for the Belgian Party a writ for the recovery of £11 13s. 4d. and costs (£1 6s. 8d.) for income tax on a fictitious income has been served by a Somerset House official on the Secretary of the Women’s Freedom League. The pompous phraseology of this document is as follows:—

In the High Court of Justice. King’s Bench Division

(King’s Remembrancer.)

George the Fifth by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, to F[lorence].A. Underwood, Greeting. We command and strictly enjoin you that within Fourteen days from the service of this Writ, inclusive of the day of such service, you cause an Appearance to be entered for you in the King’s Bench Division of Our High Court of Justice, to answer us concerning certain Articles then and there on our behalf to be objected against you, and take notice that in default of your so doing we shall proceed thereon to Judgment and and [sic] Execution. Witness the Right Honourable Richard Burdon, Viscount Haldane of Cloan, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain at Westminster, the First day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fourteen.

At the Suit of His Majesty’s Attorney-General

By Information.

This Writ is issued against you by Hugh Bertram Cox, the Solicitor of Inland Revenue, Somerset House, London.

For the recovery of £11 13s. 4d. for Duties due from you under the Statutes relating to the Income Tax.

Take notice that in default of your entering an Appearance according to the exigency of this Writ, an Information may be filed and Judgment signed thereon, and Execution issued on such Judgment together with Costs, at the expiration of Fourteen days from the day of signing such Judgment.

The costs of this Writ amount to £1 6s. 8d., which must be paid together with the Duties. N.B. — Appearance to be entered at the King’s Remembrancer’s Department, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London.

Miss Underwood has no intention of paying any part of this amount, and, if she is arrested, we rely on the co-operation of Branches up and down the country to hold meetings of protest, and to raise a substantial sum for the funds of the League, so that we can strengthen throughout the country the resistance to taxation without representation which the Women’s Freedom League inaugurated some years ago as a protest against the Government’s unconditional action in levying taxes on unrepresented women.

Our countrymen are fighting abroad for the independence of Belgium; women are fighting at home for their own independence, and are as confident as their brothers of ultimate victory.

From The Montreal Gazette on :

To Fight Wage Tax

Federal Employees in Manitoba Refuse to Pay

More then 600 federal civil servants employed in Manitoba will protest the right of the Manitoba Government to collect a two per cent. wage tax it was announced today, following a mass meeting of representatives of all federal employees in the province.

Facing court action for failing to pay their wage tax to the Manitoba Government the civil servants decided to retain legal counsel to test the validity of the imposition in the court. The main defence it is understood is to be the ground of ultra vires.”

The test case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled on that the soldiers and other federal workers were indeed liable for the Manitoba tax.