War tax resistance

"War tax resistance" means refusing to allow your taxes to be militarised, by withholding the proportion of your taxes that the government spends on the military - a conscientious objection to the use of tax for military purposes. There is a long history of individuals and organisations resisting the militarisation of their taxes, and alongside some of our affiliates, "Not in my name, not with my taxes" - WRI were taken to court because of their tax resistance"Not in my name, not with my taxes" - WRI were taken to court because of their tax resistanceWar Resisters' International witholds several hundreds of pounds tax each year that would otherwise go towards the UK government's preparations for war.

War Resisters' International's tax resistance goes back to January 2002. In September 2001, after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the USA, War Resisters' International issued a call for conscientious objection to war and preparation for war, in which it also called on "all those who pay tax: demand that your taxes are used for peace, withhold the proportion of tax used for war, Say No!" As a consequence, WRI staff asked the WRI Executive to withhold a proportion of their income tax - around 7% - and continue to do so.

We believe our tax resistance serves as both active resistance to war and its preparation, and a simple act of solidarity with those continuing to resist more 'traditional' forms of conscription to military service in countries where conscription still takes place.

WRI Statements on tax resistance

16 Jan 2013
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PRESS RELEASE

On Thursday 17th January, War Resisters' International, a global network of pacifist organisations based in London, will pay taxes that have been withheld for five years, under protest to HM Revenue and Customs.

Since 2007, War Resisters' International has been withholding a proportion of PAYE as a form of protest against Britain's military policies - the high level of military spending, the cooperation with criminal programmes such as the "rendition" of suspects, spurious rationales for military intervention, and the development and manufacture weapons of mass destruction and drones for long-distance assassination.

Articles related to war tax resistance

30 Dec 2015
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Tax resisters in Spain have supported the Nonviolence Programme at War Resisters' International, by pooling the money from their tax contributions that would otherwise have been given to the Spanish military.

27 Nov 2015
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Postcards sent from WRI affiliate World Without WarPostcards sent from WRI affiliate World Without WarEach year on 1st December War Resisters' International and its members mark Prisoners for Peace Day, when we publicise the names and stories of those imprisoned for actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

06 Sep 2015
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What is war profiteering?

'War profiteering' includes all those who profit financially from war and militarisation, or whose money makes war possible. That includes a complex network of companies, financial institutions, and individuals. The obvious thing that people think of when you talk about war profiteering is weapons manufacturers, but it goes much further than that.

We believe that so long as violence remains profitable, war will persist, because the short-term economic interests of the powerful will be put before longer-term peace and liberation. So that's why it's important – because without preventing war profiteering, we can never see an end to war.

19 Jun 2013
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Javier Garate giving a Skype presentation to the conference from the WRI office in LondonJavier Garate giving a Skype presentation to the conference from the WRI office in LondonMany WRI friends and affiliates were involved in this conference, and here we reprint a report produced by American Quakers on the conference.

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17 May 2013
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conscienceconscience

conscience TAXES FOR PEACE NOT WAR, works for a world where taxes are used to nurture peace, not pay for war.

09 Jun 2011
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“What would you do if someone came to your door with a cup in hand asking for a contribution to help buy guns to kill a group of people they didn't like?”
— Wally Nelson

Wally Nelson was a resister during World War II, one of many U.S. pacifists who not only refused to kill but didn’t want to pay for it either. In 1942, Ernest Bromley refused to buy a “defense tax stamp” for his car because the money went to the war, and the U.S. government took him to court. He spent 60 days in jail for refusing $7.09 for stamps and a $25 fine imposed by the court.

20 Sep 2010
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The Inland Revenue is threa­tening War Resisters' In­ternational with the seizure of assets because the pacifist organisation is withholding a proportion of income tax due to its conscientious objection to paying for war.

War Resisters' Internatio­nal has been withholding tax – usually about 7% of income tax, roughly the proportion of the military budget – since the tax year 2002/03. In its regu­lar letters to the Inland Revenue, the organisation states:

10 Sep 2010
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The Inland Revenue is threatening War Resisters' International, an international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations with more than 80 affiliates in more than 40 countries, with the seizure of assets because the pacifist organisation is withholding a proportion of income tax due to its conscientious objection to paying for war.

War Resisters' International has been withholding tax - usually about 7% of income tax, roughly the proportion of the military budget - since the tax year 2002/03 [1]. In its regular letters to the Inland Revenue, the organisation states:

18 Mar 2009
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The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has refused to consider an application by peace campaigners seeking to pay taxes without paying for war.

The Court has told lawyers acting for the group, the Peace Tax Seven, that their application "did not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the [European] Convention."

The group's case was first heard in the British High Court in 2005, and was
referred to Strasbourg on appeal.

31 Aug 2008
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Nonviolent action against paying for war

After the attacks of 11 September 2001, and the beginning of the war on terror, War Resisters' International began to practice tax resistance -- the withholding of a proportion of the income tax of its staff. The logic is simple: a certain percentage of every state's budget is allocated to the military -- the fighting of or preparation for war.