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The Peace Tax Seven

What have their consciences led the PEACE TAX SEVEN to do?

The ages given were in 2003

Brenda Boughton
(Age 80, Retired teacher of English and Adult Literacy)

1988 November - Began calculating and reserving proportion of income tax spent on nuclear weapons
1991 October - Took peace pledge as full pacifist and began calculating and reserving income tax between 7-10%, donating equivalent amount to Oxfam. (Protest continued to present)
1992 August - First court hearing (Oxford County Court); twice refused leave to appeal to Court of Appeal
1993 March - Oral hearing before Court of Appeal turned down. Inland Revenue obtained garnishee order and removed money directly from bank account.
1994 Further court hearing
1996 Inland Revenue obtain another garnishee order
2003 June - Further court hearing
2004 April - Joined Peace Tax Seven applying for judicial review

In 1989 Brenda opened a bank account to hold withheld tax money pending outcome of her court case. Initially the amount was the percentage destined for nuclear expenditure only. She closed the account in 1991 and thereafter, sent the money to Oxfam. Since 1991, whenever asked for tax payments above the minimum collected at source Brenda has withheld the estimated percentage intended for the use of the Ministry of Defence for all expenditures. When these sums have ultimately been removed from her bank account by the Inland Revenue (garnishee) after a court hearing, the result has been that the sum requested has been paid twice. In 1993 Brenda tried to get an Appeal Court hearing in 1993 but failed in her application to Lord Justice Butler-Sloss who pointed out that the European Convention on Human Rights had not yet been adopted into English law. Since then Brenda has repeated the withholding process described above whenever occasion demanded. This cumbersome process is the only way she feels she can continue to refuse to pay for other people to engage in warfare.

Sadly Brenda died in 2012

Robin Brookes
(Age, 52, freelance toy designer and company director of Honeychurch Toys Ltd.)

1993 Joined conscience
2002 September - Wrote to Michael Ancram MP and the Prime Minister Inspector of Taxes voicing objections to Iraq war and urging restraint
2003 March/May - Wrote to Prime Minister and Inland Revenue stating intention to reserve tax
October - First court hearing regarding reserved tax for 2001-2 (North and West Wiltshire Magistrates Court); defence submitted; payment order obtained; currently awaiting collection of withheld amount by bailiffs
Robin's first opportunity to withhold tax was in 2003 when he received a direct income tax demand for the first time in many years. Up to that point he was on PAYE and of course it is almost impossible for anyone to withhold under that system. At the same time there was the possibility of war in Iraq Robin held off paying and wrote about his concerns to Tony Blair. In February when war was inevitable, Robin made the decision to withhold, writing to the Inland Revenue, the Prime Minister, his MP and the media and others to explain his standpoint. He was summoned before a Magistrates court in October 2003 and ordered to pay in three months. In January 2004 the IR obtained a distress warrant. At present Robin awaits the arrival of the bailiffs.

2004 - Bailiffs arrive. Robin held a civil conversation with him as he unpinned the £10 bank notes from his wall display, which read; "Every 10 seconds Britain spends this much in occupying Iraq".
2005 January - Bailiff calls without taking the matter to Magistrate's Court and threatens to distrain goods. He leaves after stating that he would refer the matter to the County Court.
February - County Court summons received.

April - County Court appearance, well supported . Judge notes strong support in court and genuineness of feelings but orders Robin to pay in three weeks.
May - Payment under protest. 30 march through Swindon main shopping precinct carrying placards, Robin carries a mock drain. They all ceremoniously put the money down the drain outside the IR offices.

Siân Cwper
(Age 58, mother of two and Mahayana Buddhist.)

2003 August - Calculated and reserved military proportion (10%) of income tax for 2002-3
2004 Feb/March - County court summons; submitted defence
Joined Peace Tax Seven applying for judicial review
Calculated and reserved military proportion (10%) of income tax for 2003-4

2006 November - Threat of Court action recieved.

Simon Heywood
(Age 36, Lecturer)

2002 August - Sought advice of conscience and reserved all tax on income from self-employment for 2001-2
2003 April - Reserved 10% of tax on all income for 2002-3 from earnings from self-employment
2004 April - Arrears offset by rebate unrelated to protest

2006 October - Directions hearing at Sheffield County Court over 463 GBP unpaid tax + interest. 21 days' notice to pay. 30 October: Pay up in full, under protest.

Joe Jenkins
(Age 50, author of textbooks on religion and ethics for 14-18 year olds)

2003 April - Calculated military proportion of income tax at £730.82, made out a cheque directly to the NHS, and sent it to the Inland Revenue. Cheque returned
August - County court hearing (Hereford County Court); oral defence illegally disallowed by judge
2004 February - Joined Peace Tax Seven applying for judicial review
March - Calculated military proportion of income tax at £236.62, made out a cheque directly to the Global Conflict Prevention Pool, and sent it to the Inland Revenue. Cheque returned and currently awaiting a Court appearance
2004 July - Made cheque out for £360.56 to be redirected to the Global Conflict Prevention Pool and 'rolling over' this amount together with previously witheld amount of £236.62. Both cheques returned
2005 January - appears before Hereford Magistrates Court for withholding £629.59 but ordered to comply with the IR order to pay within 7 days or face bailiffs. In his defence Joe argues that the defining feature about rights, including the right to life, is that they are absolute and not justified by utilitarian arguments or ‘collateral damage’. He believes that there is a categorical imperative that calls all taxpayers to accept that a single person’s life, including an Iraqi civilian, has intrinsic value and worth and cannot be traded off against the security of the majority; particularly when other avenues have not been exhausted
2005 April - Bailiffs arrive while Joe is at work, and, going beyond their powers, threaten Joe's wife that they will call the police and "break the door down" - Joe, in contact with them over the phone as he could not leave work, reluctantly pays some of his tax to keep them at bay. Joe continues to withhold the rest.

Roy Prockter (Age 55, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, self employed.)

1989 Joined conscience
1991 Reserved all income tax on intermittent self-employed earnings for 1989-90 (under 10% of total tax for year)
1993 Mar - First court hearing (Colchester County Court); conscientious objection to war taxation ruled "logical but illegal" by judge; arrears offset by tax rebate unrelated to protest
2002 Jan - Made out cheque to UK Government Non-Military Conflict Resolution Fund for amount equal to income tax on self-employed earnings for 2000-2001. Cheque returned
2004 Feb - Joined Peace Tax Seven applying for judicial review

Sadly Roy died in 2014

Dr. Birgit Völlm
(Age 40, Lecturer in Forensic Psychiatry at the Neuroscience and Psychiatry Unit, University of Manchester)

2003 January - Joined conscience
March - Made out cheque for £129.40 (requested as balancing payment under Inland Revenue Schedule E) to Department for International Development.
December - Court hearing (Manchester City Magistrates Court); Birgit Appealed against payment order.
2004 January - Informed by Manchester City Magistrates Court that judicial review was the only legal recourse
February - Accordingly, joined Peace Tax Seven applying for judicial review