Inland Revenue collects war tax from War Resisters' International

On Wednesday, 4 August 2004, the Inland Revenue will come to the WRI Office to collect outstanding war taxes of War Resisters' International for the financial year 2003. The Inland Revenue informed War Resisters' International that one of their tax collectors will call at the WRI office after 1pm, to take the taxes, which WRI refused to pay on behalf of its employees, which now total £454.55. In February 2004, the City of London Magistrates Court ordered War Resisters' International to pay the outstanding tax [1], which WRI continued to refuse.

"Our conscientious objection to pay for war is a logical consequence of our work against war", explains Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International's conscientious objection campaigning worker. "War Resisters' International always supported conscientious objection. This goes back to 1921, when WRI was founded. Now, with professional armies, the 'conscription' of our taxes is an important aspect of how our societies are geared towards war. Why should we, who struggle so much against war - not only against the war on Iraq, but against war in principle - contribute with our taxes to the more than 3 billion pounds that the UK government spent on killing thousands of Iraqis? Here, our conscience forbids us to follow the law."

In its letters to the Inland Revenue, War Resisters' International always offered to the Inland Revenue the opportunity to pick up outstanding war taxes in cash in the office, but also declared firmly that WRI would not cooperate, and would not be prepared to transfer the outstanding amount or to write a cheque. Prior to the court hearing in February, the Inland Revenue declared that they are not prepated to send a tax collector, to collect cash. It seems now, faced with the option to either get a new court order to send the bailiffs, or to send a tax collector, the Inland Revenue decided for the latter.

"We see this concession as a small victory", declares Andreas Speck on behalf of the WRI staff. "Although they come and will get their war tax, we do not actively cooperate with the Inland Revenue here. While we need to avoid a disruption of our work against war, which is what our organisation is about, we were prepared for the bailiffs. We were aware that in the end the Inland Revenue would be able to get our money. Still, we continue to withhold a proportion of the tax, and we keep fighting our case in public and in court."

For more information, call Andreas Speck at War Resisters' International, Tel +44-20-7278 4040.

Notes:

[1] Court orders War Resisters' International to pay war tax, 09 February 2004, http://wri-irg.org/news/2004/wri-in-court2.htm