Some international tax resistance news:
- J.D. Tuccille, at Reason, takes a look at Americans who stay outside of the banking system and otherwise engage in the “underground economy.”
- The Pope came to visit, and gave a shout-out to Catholic Worker activist and war tax resister Dorothy Day in his address to Congress. It’s been amusing watching politicians and activists from just about every ideological niche try to claim the Pope as one of their own… it reminds me of the old saw about the blind men and the elephant. Or maybe it’s similar to how so many different ideologies, practices, and beliefs all claim to be interpretations of the real teachings of Jesus — nowadays we all get to interpret the Pope in our own way too… Is the Pope Catholic? Perhaps with a lower-case “c”.
- New York restaurants are using “sales suppression” software to underreport receipts for tax purposes, to the anguish of the local taxfeeders. This, according to the opponents of the practice, means the restaurants “can offer lower food and beverage prices, and afford higher rents, than honest restaurants can.” Perish the thought.
- A coalition of nationalist parties won the recent Catalan election, which they were billing as a referendum on independence. They have vowed to begin to separate from Spain within the next couple of years. Part of this independence campaign has already begun, with a number of municipalities, businesses, and individuals paying their federal taxes to the state government of Catalonia. “The key element that will permit us to exercise and maintain our independence will be the collection of all of the taxes by the government of Catalonia,” according to planning documents of the coalition. The state currently forwards those taxes on to the central government, so this form of tax resistance is largely a symbolic gesture. But the new government hopes to make this currently somewhat-illicit process official and then, eventually, to cut off the central government. In case of conflict with the central government over how taxes are to be paid, they may launch a blockade of the federal tax offices so as to encourage people to file with the Catalan tax authorities instead.
- The Patidar community in Gujarat, which has been agitating for some sort of government-protected minority status for several months now, is incorporating bank runs and tax resistance in an “economic non-cooperation” movement.
- The Gardai in Dublin have forbidden the Anti-Austerity Alliance, which has been central to the anti-water tax protests and nonpayment campaign, from having a permit to conduct house-to-house fundraising, on the grounds that the funds raised might be used to further illegal activity. “The collection permit has been refused,” said Garda Chief Superintendent Orla McPartlin, “because I believe that the proceeds of the collection or a portion thereof would be used to facilitate protests sponsored by the Anti Austerity Alliance.”
- Merchants across Pakistan have been conducting strikes to protest a new withholding tax on bank transactions. “If the government does not accept our demands,” said Naeem Mir, one of the strike leaders, “we will observe a series of shutter-down strikes… in the four provinces and in each and every small and big city in protest against the cruel taxation measures of the so-called business-friendly government.” The new taxes are being blamed on IMF-required austerity and on the expenses of Pakistan’s version of the “war on terror.”
- The economic crisis in Greece has crushed what was already a pretty weak state of “taxpayer morale” — the “won’t pay” movement that practiced noncompliance with taxes and road tolls helped bring down the government and sweep a left-wing coalition into power. One of this new government’s officials, deputy finance minister Alexis Haritsis, was a “won’t pay” activist. Greeks are turning away in disgust from the official economy in general, increasingly turning to barter to get their needs met.
- Fifty condominium owners in Prino, Italy, have organized to stop paying the “IMU” municipal property tax in response to the city’s neglect of public spaces, including a filthy public square with a broken fountain that’s become a rubbish heap, poor upkeep of drainage that leads to flooding, and bad traffic management. A letter announcing the strike, signed by all fifty, was sent to the mayor and other city officials.