Many people think if you refuse to pay taxes you’ll end up behind bars, but
this is actually very rare. Of the tens of thousands of people who have
resisted war taxes over the past 75 years, the National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee, or NWTRCC, knows of
only 30 who have done time.
Although [Peter] Smith has refused to pay for over 40 years, he said he’s
never faced jail or criminal charges because of it. “The
would just as soon collect the money and sock you with fines and interest,” he
That’s where the Penalty Fund comes in. It fully reimburses resisters for
penalties and interest, thereby taking the sting out of
often fails to collect penalties, interest, or anything at all from determined
resisters. Some resisters live lives of voluntary simplicity and have nothing
seize (or owe no income tax in the first place). Others hide their assets. And
drops the ball and lets the statute of limitations expire without attempting
to collect. An informal poll at a national gathering of resisters in
found that the
taken only about a quarter of the hundreds of thousands of dollars those
resisters had refused to pay over the years.
On , in a 2–1 ruling in the
Court of Appeal, it was determined that the Education Act does not compel
county councils to pay for the cost of religious education in
taxpayer-subsidised religiously-backed schools (the question of whether county
councils may pay for such religious education was not decided).
With the election of an overwhelming Liberal majority, the introduction of a
new education bill in Parliament that would overturn the offensive parts of
the Education Act, and this new ruling, the nonconformist passive resisters
were justified in feeling like they had the momentum.
The following article comes from the Dundee Evening Telegraph:
Passive Resistance Vindicated.
Dr. Clifford and Mr
In an interview
Dr. Clifford said that
’s judgment of the Court of Appeal
was a splendid vindication of passive resistance. “The question, of course,
presents itself,” said the Doctor, “whether or not we are entitled to claim
damages. I should myself say that we certainly were. Whether or not we shall
do so is another matter. As to the Government’s attitude, I should imagine
that Mr Birrell is quite satisfied with the judgment. It runs on a line with
his own Bill. The theoretical object of Mr Birrell’s Bill is to get rid of
paying for denominational teaching out of the rates and taxes. What Mr Birrell
has been aiming at is accomplished by this judgment. We shall make a great
protest against any further concessions under the Government Bill or against
any reversal of ’s judgment.”
In fact, the judgment would be appealed to the House of Lords, a panel of which
reversed it unanimously on .
Birrell’s bill would pass the House of Commons but would also be obstructed by
the House of Lords.
These premature signs of victory would threaten to weaken the passive