When Is It a Crime to Pay Tax?

Most taxpayers know that evading tax is a crime, but how many of us know that paying tax can also be a crime?  Chris Coverdale, a tax resister, explains.

It is a salutary fact that every time a resident or visitor to Britain purchases a cup of coffee or buys a drink in a pub we make a small but significant contribution to war and the mass murder of innocent men, women and children.  Every time we pay tax we take part in the world’s worst crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against peace.

Under the domestic and international laws of war[1] citizens are forbidden from taking part in a war on the side of the aggressor and are legally bound to disobey the orders of any Government that takes part in illegal war or supports acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.  This duty to refuse to obey unlawful Government orders includes orders to pay tax [Income tax, Council tax, VAT etc].  If a government uses the funds raised by taxation to wage illegal war or to commit genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, then a taxpayer’s normal duty to pay tax is reversed and becomes a duty to refuse to pay tax.

“ The very essence of the Charter is that individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual State.  He who violates the laws of war cannot obtain immunity while acting in pursuance of the authority of the State, if the State in authorising action moves outside its competence under international law…”

Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal 1946

War is never lawful; it was outlawed in 1928 by the Treaty for the Renunciation of War (Kellogg-Briand Pact).  This treaty, which formed the legal basis for the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials and the prosecution of Germany’s leaders, is still in force.  The only occasion when the use of armed force is lawful occurs when a State is under attack and it acts in self-defence to repel the attackers.  On all other occasions the use of armed force is illegal.

“War between nations was renounced by the signatories of the Kellogg-Briand Treaty.  This means that it has become throughout practically the entire world an illegal thing.  Hereafter, when nations engage in armed conflict, either one or both of them must be termed violators of this general treaty law…. We denounce them as law breakers.”  

HenryStimson, USA Secretary of State 1932

Wilful killing during war is a crime.  If a person is killed as a consequence of an aggressive military action then the death is unlawful and everyone involved in the commission of the crime commits an offence and can be charged with a war crime, a crime against humanity, genocide, a crime against peace, murder or complicity in these crimes.


In international law each of the wars fought since 2001 against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya is illegal.  Not only do they violate the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the UN Charter, but by killing civilians, the leaders and taxpayers of every State involved in these wars committed murder, crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Under the common law doctrine of ‘joint enterprise’, Article 25 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court or Terrorism legislation every citizen of a NATO State who has paid tax since 2001 is technically an accessory to the crimes committed by their Government, and is criminally liable for arrest, prosecution and punishment for complicity in war crimes.

The fact, that taxpayers and tax collectors can be arrested, tried and punished as war criminals alongside the civil, political and military leaders responsible for waging a war may come as an unwelcome shock to those who are not familiar with the laws of war.  But it should be no surprise to anyone who has experienced or considered the horrific consequences of war.  Waging a war, in which tens of thousands of totally innocent men women and children are injured and killed, is the world’s most evil act; so supporting a war, by paying tax and providing the funds to buy the weapons and pay the troops, ranks alongside it as a monstrous crime.

Taxpayers who have unwittingly supported illegal wars will be relieved to know that the legislation provides them with a get-out clause[2].  Article 25.3(f) of the Rome Statute states:

…  a person who abandons the effort to commit the crime or otherwise prevents the completion of the crime shall not be liable for punishment under this Statute for the attempt to commit that crime if that person completely and voluntarily gave up the criminal purpose.

As long as taxpayers end their participation in the crimes immediately and refuse to pay tax to their government or its agents until the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Pakistan have ended, they will not be punished.  To avoid the possibility of being tried and punished as an accessory to war crimes, sign a Declarationwithdrawing your consent to taxation until all unlawful military actions have ended and the UK Government is abiding by its treaty commitments and the laws of war.   Remember, if you continue to pay tax whilst HM Forces and our allies in NATO are attacking and killing innocent civilians – a war crime, you are liable in law for arrest and prosecution as an accessory to war crimes[3].

We all have a choice.  We can withhold tax and force our Governments to end their illegal wars or we can continue to pay our taxes and prolong the carnage.   It’s our choice and our decision.

 “War is essentially an evil thing.  Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world.  To initiate a war of aggression therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”                               

    Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal 1946

[1]Treaty for the Renunciation of War (Kellogg-Briand Pact), UN Charter, Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, Nuremburg Principles, Genocide Convention, Geneva Conventions, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Terrorism Act.

[2]Article 25.3(f) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

[3]S. 51 and 52 of The International Criminal Court Act 2001 or S.1, 2, and 3 The International Criminal Court [Scotland] Act 2001

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