Beirut Restaurateur Redirects Taxes to Worthy Charities

In the wake of the enormous explosion at the Port of Beirut, protests by enraged citizens have led to the collapse of the Lebanese gov­ern­ment.

Dany Chakour, owner of the Em Sherif restaurants, has gone a step further. He says his restau­rants will no longer pay taxes to the corrupt and inept gov­ern­ment of Lebanon, but will in­stead pay that money direct­ly to non-gov­ern­ment­al org­an­i­za­tions that are act­u­al­ly help­ing peo­ple.

“We decided to help the NGOs who are the only ones helping on the ground,” Chakour said. “We won’t pay the government, that’s for sure.”

And he says other business owners are thinking of following his lead.

Chakour says he intends to file his value-added tax returns as usual, but without including the demanded 11% payment. Instead he will indicate the charities he funded with the money.

In other news…

  • The U.K. government is considering decriminalizing refusal to pay the television license tax. This tax is used to pay for government-sponsored programming, and some people refuse to pay it on the grounds that they don’t much care for government propaganda. The government rarely, but occasionally pursues such scofflaws with criminal sanctions. If the government decriminalizes non-payment, it will become an ordinary debt-collection matter, which may ironically increase harassment against non-payers. Some retirees, whose payments had previously been subsidized, have threatened a sort of inconvenience-strike in protest: canceling their direct-deposit license payments and demanding to pay by check through the mail.
  • Catalan president Quim Torra has called on municipalities in Catalonia to withhold their taxes from the federal government’s Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, saying that otherwise the federal government will siphon the money away from Catalonia. He was backed in this by the Association of Municipalities for Independence, which sent a manifesto to mayors in the region, calling for tax refusal against what it calls a “authoritarian and centralist state that has repeatedly wasted our money.” What led to the protest was a new government plan to centrally administer local tax revenue: local governments would remit their tax revenue to the central government, which would redistribute it back on its own terms.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump has instructed his Treasury department to extend the deadline for paying payroll taxes due starting in until . It’s not entirely clear how this will work. This is largely a campaign stunt, as Trump, who is running for reelection, said that he plans to forgive the deferred taxes if he is reelected (which, unlike the deferral itself, would not be something he has the authority to do) while intimating that his opponent would demand everyone cough up the delayed lump sum. Stunt though it is, it adds one more headache to the IRS’s growing collection, while depleting government revenue, so I’m all for it.
  • The international human rebellion against traffic ticket camera robots continues, with the robot hordes taking casualties in Canada, France, and Germany; and the United States and France in recent weeks.