A Right to Tax Diversion? The State and the Citizen

  • James Dignan


The idea of refusing to pay tax, based on a person’s moral opposition to the purpose for which it is raised is not a new one. Among the earliest known tax-resisters were the early Christians who refused to pay tax to finance the building of Caesar’s pagan temple in Rome (Mayer, 1969, p. 133). Subsequently, however, tax-resistance on moral grounds has been centred largely, though not exclusively, on objection to ‘war tax’.1 As such, it has not hitherto constituted a particularly significant form of protest either numerically or politically. In part the practical difficulty of withholding tax most of which is deducted at source has prevented it from ever assuming large-scale proportions, while the fact that opposition has in the past tended to focus on specific wars, of which the Vietnam war was the most prominent recent example, ensured that it was usually a relatively transient phenomenon.


Nuclear Weapon Geneva Convention Conscientious Objection Equal Concern Genocide Convention 
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  1. 12.
    E. Sparer, ‘The Right to Welfare’, in N. Norsen (ed.) The Rights of Americans (1970) p. 91.Google Scholar

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© Warwick Legal Defence Trust 1986

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  • James Dignan

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