Half a million copies of a radical tabloid called ¡Rebelaos! (“Revolt!”) have hit the streets across Spain. It advocates resisting the forces that would surrender the governing and looting of Spain to foreign bankers by creating bottom-up, autonomous government outside of the existing establishment structure. The Spanish state has abandoned the Constitution, they say, so why don’t we abandon them?
Prominent among their proposals is mass tax resistance (my translation):
Tax resistance as a strategy of rebellion
As has been explained earlier, civil disobedience is a fundamental tool for raising popular empowerment on the path to autonomy.
While the progressive privatization of everything public continues, while the economic crisis is blamed for the lack of resources, while public money is pilfered in the interests of those in high places, the real public projects on which we are working on the ground often suffer from the lack of those necessary resources. To reverse this situation, it is necessary to derive a significant amount of those resources by direct means and through tax resistance.
Therefore, with this publication, we call for the initiation and expansion of a tax resistance campaign aimed at the Spanish state and its institutions, with follow-up actions to demonstrate that we will not pay their debts because they do not recognize this constitution. Tax resistance serves to nourish our autonomous assemblies, and from these, gives absolute priority to the participatory financing of those resources that we consider truly public.
Tax resistance in your tax return, step by step
This is a proposal for people who are filing a tax return in 2012, and we want to extend this for successive years.
To declare yourself as a tax resister presumes filing a tax return, and it is no use to say you don’t: if you work for someone else, your company still pays your taxes directly to the state. At this point, you have the option of declaring yourself a tax resister because of all of the budget items with which you do not agree, and to reclaim your taxes by means of a tax return.
This is a manageable option for people who want or need to continue participating in the formal economy, and therefore cannot afford fines or anything of that sort. This is a proposal inspired by war tax resistance, which for years has successfully operated in Spain, acting in this way towards the 6% of the tax statement that corresponds to military spending. In this case, we would increase the percentage by adding other items that we also consider unjust.
You can choose these items according to your own criteria, or you can join in the proposed tax resistance campaign launched by Derecho de Rebelión (Right of Rebellion), which will be 25% of your taxes, a total of €363 billion (which was the 2011 budget and is valid for 2012 as long as no others are approved).
Steps to follow:
- On tax day, it is advisable not to accept the draft tax return that is sent to you by the tax office, because there may be an error in the data, probably in your favor.
- It is often not desirable to refrain from filing if you have not earned above the tax line. Even if you do not reach the minimum, it is important that you do the calculations, because very likely you will have a refund (they have to return money to you). Only if you are below the minimum and have not paid anything accordingly does it pay off not to file.
- The tax return must be done by hand or with the PADRE program. [“PADRE” is an acronym that stands for, in English, something like “tax filing assistance software,” but as a word literally means “father” — ♇] Box 752 is where to put whatever tax resistance percentage you will. When you go to pay, that percentage will be deducted; when you get your refund, that percentage is the amount you will be refunded.
- On completing the return, it is necessary to deposit the amount of tax resisted in the account of the collective or assembly of your choice. This must be through a nonprofit entity (cooperative, association, or foundation).
- Then you just fill out a tax resistance card directed to the Treasury Department, which you attach to the return along with proof of your deposit to the group you chose. You can download this form from www.derechoderebelion.net or go to the links on tax resistance listed on the site, some of them linked to fiscal disobedience offices.
- Finally, it is important that the tax resistance action does not remain an individual act between you and the Treasury, so provide the information about your resistance to the fiscal disobedience office nearest you. It is very important to know the number of people that have done it, and that is why we encourage you to fill out the tax resistance census form, which you will find on the same web site.
Ways to avoid the value-added tax
There are a variety of ways open to a person, a company, or a cooperative, to stop paying the value-added tax (VAT) to the state, and to dedicate the payment to an autonomous project. Some of these are:
- If you are tapped to pay the VAT, declare a smaller amount than would apply, and with that finance an assembly or project of your choosing. To justify the lower payment, you must collect various invoices in your name. These invoices can do for you in various ways without compromising the legal cover of your action.
- If you know that your company is going out of business, instead of paying the state, you can begin to redirect these quantities (or part of them that you choose) to the assemblies in your area or to an autonomous project that inspires you.
- If you want to continue in business and you need a way to continue this process perpetually, a solution may be to open and close your business every three or four years. In this way, when the Treasury is after you to collect the VAT, the company would be insolvent and you would have created another.
- If you are a member of a non-profit cooperative or entity that declares VAT, you can ask for an invoice for your personal expenses with the taxpayer identification number of this entity, and give those invoices in order to have them deducted from your taxes and to not have to pay VAT.
- If after joining all the invoices of your autonomous cooperative together you are left owing, you can invoice the cooperative to which you dedicate your volunteer time with your personal taxpayer identification number. Simply after receiving the money, donate it back to the same cooperative.
Total tax resistance in order to declare bankruptcy
This technique consists of stopping all payment on the income tax, the value-added tax, and/or all of those for which you can, as a preliminary step to declaring bankrupcty. Since tax refusal is only a criminal offense starting at €120,000 per year, there is much margin for refusal without criminal liability, and in order to exit the system by supporting a comprehensive and massive process of social autonomy.
In addition, by means of your personal action you can support other companies and cooperatives that are not insolvent, generating invoices for them to add to their accounts. Remembering always that such invoices must be real and deposited in a bank account. Above all, we caution that your sense of responsibility and the destiny of the money are the key on which is based the ethics of any action of this type.
From tax resistance to fiscal autonomy
Some of the methods we provide on this page are similar to the disreputable methods that some people use for self-interested and other dubious reasons. If these methods also form part of our proposals it is because the construction of autonomy will require a lot of resources. This process should be based on the ability to work and the generosity of many people, but needs to rely on these resources to make it possible.
By fiscal autonomy we mean all the pathways of redistribution that will make the tax system support initiatives that will really benefit people. That is to say that the portion that each person is responsible of providing for the common good must be destined for new public services that really place the basic needs of people higher on the scale of priorities. Therefore it becomes a priority, and all but essential, to generate dynamics of ever more massive civil disobedience against the pilfering of our resources on the part of the state, and to reclaim them for popular self-government.
To advance this process, you can sign up with the form at http://derechoderebelion.net/adhesiones-de-lasasambleas, which aims to enlist the assemblies that are committed to fiscal autonomy.