Some bits and pieces from here and there:
- The 200-person town of Gallifa in Catalonia, Spain, has begun tax resistance as a municipality — by
refusing to pay €1,662.62 income tax due on the salaries of the employees
at the tax office. The town government is controlled by the small
separatist coalition party “Catalan Solidarity for Independence.” There
have been other rumblings of tax resistance lately in Catalan independence
circles, and some people have made a symbolic gesture of trying to pay
their federal taxes directly to the Catalan regional government. A not
particularly favorable Spanish-language news article about the Gallifa
action gives a good overview of Catalan nationalist tax resistance in
recent years (translation mine):
The group from local Barcelona-area government is considering conducting the same action with other taxes, such as the contributions for Social Security.
This action is in line with eight Catalan entrepreneurs and freelancers, grouped under the platform “Diem Prou” (“We Say Enough”), who in staged a tax evasion that came after months of protest against what they consider an unjust regional financing model that they believe qualifies as “looting.”
In , the then-secretary of General Policy of the ERC, Josep Ginesta, demanded “that not one new euro raised be sent beyond Fraga [the Westernmost town in Catalonia, which is the Easternmost province in Spain]” In , former regional president Pasqual Maragall (PSC) proposed a “cierre de cajas [shutting of the cashboxes],” and eight months later he threatened “tax resistance.” A measure that was supported by the secretary-general of the Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), Oriol Pujol, in . In , the then-leader of ERC, Joan Puigcercós, and the Member of European Parliament from CiU, Ramon Tremosa, also called for refusal to honor the demands of the Treasury.
Also those media that survive thanks to public funds have taken sides in favor of these campaigns. In , the chief political editor of La Vanguardia, Jordi Barbeta, hinted from the pages of the newspaper group Godó of the need to launch “collective tax resistance.” A month later, Vincent Partal, director and owner of Vilaweb, one of the most heavily subsidized journals in Catalonia, encouraged from its on-line edition the launch of a campaign of “planned and widespread civil disobedience” against the Spanish government finances. In fact, in this journal are given all sorts of details on how to carry out such evasion.
In , Òmnium Cultural, a radical separatist group that tops the list in terms of subsidies received, launched a new challenge against the present law — more than those it is accustomed to raise — that the federal government grant the Catalan regional government an economic treaty [like the ones that make the Basque region and Navarre more fiscally independent] in the next four years, or it will promote “tax resistance” against the Tax Agency. This proposal was dismissed by the Catalan government — which considered it “interesting” — and by CiU, while the PSC called it “appealing” but “unrealistic.”
Gallifa is not the only municipality that has initiated an action of this sort. The Consistory of San Vicente dels Horts (Barcelona) — chaired by the ERC leader Oriol Junqueras — or of Gerona — with Carles Puigdemont (CiU) in charge — also attempted to cheat the national Treasury, but eventually backed down.
- I’ve had less luck trying to parse this article (in Italian), but the gist of it seems to be that Italy’s “Northern League” is threatening tax resistance (though it seems I’ve heard similar bluster from them in the past, without much to show for it). The gist of the grievance is similar to that of Catalonia — that taxes paid by people that live in the region don’t go to provide services there but to prop up economically poorer regions of the country. Northern League-allied mayors are threatening to kick out the agency that collects federal taxes, and to instead collect and spend these taxes themselves at the local level.
- Household Tax resisters disrupted a Cork City Council meeting
, where nearly 40% of
households were still refusing to register for and pay the new charge.
Laura McGonigle said: “I’ve always enjoyed being a public representative and taken the rough with the smooth but tonight was horrendous.
“While everyone is entitled to protest, I felt extremely intimidated and unsafe in our democratically-elected chamber.”
- Bill Evans, a pensioner living near Hartlepool, England, is refusing to pay his council tax because the government services it pays for have become so shoddy. “It has reached the stage where I feel the only thing I can do now is stop paying my council tax,” he says. “The council is not fulfilling its commitment and I will have my day in court.”
- Mahadev Desai’s book The Story of Bardoli: Being a History of the Bardoli Satyagraha of and its Sequel is available on-line.
- The U.S. government recently seized $269 from war tax resister Cindy Sheehan’s bank account, leading her to reflect on “Stealing Rent Money from a Gold Star Mother.”
- The New York Times profiles American alternative currency martyr Bernard von NotHaus, who is facing serious prison time for minting a set of coins for people who were losing faith in the government’s official legal tender.
- IRS employees “are closing delinquent taxpayer accounts [categorizing them as ‘currently not collectible’] without following the proper procedures and without managerial approval” according to a new TIGTA report.