Draft Paper With Regard to

The Dutch Peace Tax Bill and Similar Bills Elsewhere

An analysis of the impediments raised against such legislation

7: Peace Tax Bills in Other Countries

7.1. Introduction to This Chapter

Now I will make a comparison between the Dutch bill and similar bills as introduced in other countries. These countries are the United States of America, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, Australia and Italy.

7.2. The United States of America

In the United States similar bills have been introduced in the US Congress every time since 1972[1] in the House of Representatives and since 1977 in the Senate (introduced by Senator Hatfield).[2]

I will compare the bill d.d. April 17 1991 H.R. 1870 with the Dutch bill.

With this bill the International Revenue Code of 1986 has to be changed to provide that a taxpayer conscientiously opposed to participation in war may elect to have such taxpayer's income, estate or gift payments spent for nonmilitary purposes.

The bill provides for the establishment of a United States Peace Tax Fund.

In section 2 of the proposal is mentioned:

  1. Findings. The Congress finds that for a significant minority of Americans sincere conscientious objection to participation in war in any form means that such Americans cannot in conscience pay the portion of their taxes that would support military expenditures.
  2. Policy. It is the policy of Congress:
    1. to allow conscientious objectors to pay their full tax liability without violating their moral, ethical, or religious beliefs;
    2. to reduce the present administrative and judicial burden created by conscientious objectors who violate tax laws rather than violate their consciences;
    3. to recognize conscientious objector status with regard to the payment of taxes for military purposes and
    4. to provide a mechanism for congressional appropriations of such funds for nonmilitary purposes.

In section 3 US Peace Tax Fund is established. To that Fund the amounts are transferred which the individual taxpayers have designated for that. The amounts shall be transferred at least monthly from the general fund of the Treasury to the Fund on the bases of estimates. Proper adjustments shall be made in the amount subsequently transferred to the extent that prior estimates were in excess or less than the amount required to be transferred.

In section 4 is regulated that each individual taxpayer who by reason of religion training and belief is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form and who already is recognised as conscientious objector according to the military service acts or has certified in a statement in a questionnaire return that he or she is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form within the meaning of the aforesaid military service acts.

Any taxpayer who makes a designation shall attach the questionnaire return receipt to the return of tax. The Secretary of the Treasury may require him or her to provide such additional information as may be necessary to verify his or her status as an eligible individual.

The Secretary of the Treasury can decide that somebody is not an eligible individual and is not entitled to make such a designation, upon written notice to the taxpayer stating the reasons for denial. The taxpayer may challenge the Secretary's ruling by taking proceedings in the relevant courts.

The designation may be made with respect to any taxable year

  1. at the time of filing the return of the tax
  2. at any other time specified in regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

In the case of an eligible individual filing a joint return, upon the consent of such individual's spouse, the joint income tax payment may be designated. In other words it is not necessary that the spouse has conscientious objections himself or herself, he or she has only to give permission for the designation.

Each publication of general instructions accompanying an income tax return shall include an explanation of the purpose of the United States Peace Tax Fund and the criteria for determining whether an individual meets the requirements to be recognised as a conscientious objector and an explanation of the process for making the designation.

Every taxpayer who makes a designation for any taxable year shall make a questionnaire return during such year for the purpose of determining whether the taxpayer is an eligible individual. In the aforesaid return the taxpayer has to certify his or her beliefs about participation in war, the source or genesis of such beliefs and how the beliefs affect the taxpayer's life.

Any civil or criminal penalty imposed on an individual for tax refusal shall be vacated and set aside, if the person upon whom the penalty was imposed

  1. pays the tax due with interest, and
  2. establish to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury that the failure or refusal to pay was based upon conscientious objection to participation in war in any form.

A similar provision is made with respect to the gift tax and the estate tax. With regard to the estate tax the request to recognition of conscientious objections may be done by the executor or administrator of the estate under written authority of the decedent.

In section 7 is prescribed that the Comptroller General as soon after the close of each fiscal year shall determine and certify to the Congress and to the President the percentage of actual appropriations made for a military purpose with respect to such fiscal year.

Each year a certain portion of the money in the US Peace Tax Fund will be appropriated to the United States Peace Tax Fund Board of Trustees for obligation and expenditure in accordance with the provisions of the US Peace Tax Fund Act.

The portion considered is equal to an amount which is

  1. the product of
    1. all funds transferred to the Fund in each fiscal year, times
    2. the aforesaid percentage determined for such fiscal year.

The surplus, without of course all resources in the Fund previously authorised to be appropriated to the Board of Trustees but not yet appropriated, will flow to the General Fund of the Treasury of the United States on the following condition: No part of the funds transferred to the general fund shall be appropriated for any expenditure, or otherwise obligated, for a military purpose.

The Board of Trustees of the United States Peace Tax Fund shall be composed of eleven members.

Nine of them, not more than five from the same political party, are appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among individuals who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to world peace, international friendship, and the peaceful resolution of international conflict, together with two members who shall also meet the above criteria, one of whom shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, upon recommendations of the majority leader and the minority leader, from among the members of the US Senate, and one of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, upon the recommendations of the majority leader and the minority leader, from among the members of the House.

The term of office of each member shall be six years. Each member shall be eligible for reappointment for one additional term, but no person shall serve for more than twelve years as a member of the Board. Six members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. The Board shall elect a chairman from among the members of the Board.

The Board will have to spend the appropriated money to such activities as:

  1. Retraining workers displaced by conversion from military production or activities;
  2. Research directed towards developing and evaluating nonmilitary and nonviolent solutions to international conflicts;
  3. Disarmament efforts;
  4. Special projects of the United States Institute of Peace;
  5. International exchanges for peaceful purposes;
  6. Improvement of international health, education, and welfare; and
  7. Programs for providing information to and education of the public concerning such activities.

Funds designated for the purpose of research may be directed to governmental, nongovernmental, national and international organisations. Funds for non-domestic programs involving the providing of goods and services shall be restricted in distribution to the United Nations and associated agencies.

The Board shall publish regulations for the submission of applications for funds by persons and agencies and shall determine the eligibility of such persons and agencies.

Before approving the application of any such person or agency the Board shall determine, after a comprehensive review of all the functions and activities of the person or agency requesting approval, that such functions and activities have a nonmilitary purpose.

The Board shall submit a budget to the US Congress, shall report to the US President and to the US Congress annually on the activities of the Board, and shall provide a complete accounting of all funds received and disbursed.

Section 9 under f makes clear that it is the intent of the bill that the Fund shall not operate to release funds for military expenditures which, were it not for the existence of the Fund, would otherwise have been appropriated for nonmilitary expenditures.

In section 12 some important definitions are given:

The term military purpose means any activity or program conducted, administered, or sponsored by an agency of the Government which effects an augmentation of military forces, defensive and offensive intelligence activities, or enhances the ability of any person or nation to wage war.

The term actual appropriations made for a military purpose includes but is not limited to amounts appropriated by the United States in connection with:

  1. The Department of Defence;
  2. The Central Intelligence Agency;
  3. The National Security Council;
  4. The Selective Service System;
  5. Activities of the Department of Energy that have a military purpose;
  6. Activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that have a military purpose;
  7. Foreign military aid and foreign economic aid made available to any country for the purpose of releasing local funds for military activities; and
  8. The training, supplying, or maintaining of military personnel, or the manufacture, construction, maintenance or development of military weapons, installations, or strategies.

The bill is primarily a provision for conscientious objections. In view of special American circumstances perhaps the bill does not create a precedent towards other groups who demand legal alternatives with respect to other issues as education and welfare.

Conscientious objections against war have an established place in American history and tradition already since the seventeenth century.[3]

Objections against other government activities cannot claim such a special status.

On May 21 1992 a hearing has been held by a Subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives with regard to the bill.[4]

A lot of representatives of peace organisations and denominations have spoken in favour of the bill.

One of the most important organisations with regard to the pursuit of this bill is the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund. This organisation is sustaining the momentum gained by the hearing in 1992.

The bill gets more attention on Capital Hill at the moment and therefore gets closer scrutiny.[5]

The part of the Peace Tax Fund Bill that has been most problematic in Congress is the section on eligible receivers of money from the fund. Probably this will lead to some modification on this point.

The Dutch proposal looks very much like the American bill. An important difference is that according to the American bill all the tax money of the conscientious objector flows first to the Peace Fund and after that, the amount of the portion with regard to the fact that conscientious objections occur, will flow to the general resources on the condition that no military expenditure will take place with that money. The money that remains in the fund has to be spent by the Board for earmarked expenditure as promotion of peace.

It is clearly the intention of the American bill that the Fund will not operate to release money for military expenditure in any way.

In the Dutch bill only a portion, the objected part, of the tax money is transferred to the Peace Fund and the remaining part will stay in the General Treasury, from which also military expenditure is paid. In view of the conscientious objections involved it appears that the American bill is more consistent on this point.

The American bill gives a provision with regard to all military expenditure with a specification of that, whereas the Dutch bill only covers the expenditure of the Department of Defence.

7.3. Belgium

In Belgium Peace Tax Bills have been introduced since 1985 in both the Belgian Senate as the Belgian Chamber of Representatives.[6]

I will compare the bill which is introduced in the Belgian Senate on March 20 1986 number 210 (1985-1986), with the Dutch bill.

In the explanatory memorandum of the bill it is mentioned that since 1964 a provision for conscientious objections to military service exists.[7] The introducers state that the intent of the bill is to also recognise the objections against tax duties with regard to military purposes, to give each citizen a chance to make a part of his tax money, to be used for conversion projects, that is conversion of the human and material resources which at this moment are destined for military defence, for methods of nonviolent conflict resolution.

The bill d.d. 1986 consists of two parts, namely the establishment of a Peace Tax Fund under the administration of the Minister of Finance and the establishment of a Belgian Institute for peace and development projects. Every citizen can during the year relevant for the assessment transfer money to the Peace Tax Fund as a payment in advance, the money paid will be deducted later from the tax assessment. The money collected in the Fund is transferred within two months to the Belgian Institute for peace and development projects.

Section 4 prescribes that the payments to the Peace Tax Fund are limited to five percent of the tax debt.

The payments to the Peace Tax Fund cannot be paid back, not even in the case where too much is paid in advance.

The introducers make clear that payments to the Peace Tax Fund cannot be compared to deductible gifts. Deductible gifts are deducted before the tax assessment is decided.

They state that the Minister of Finance who has all the means to this and who is also responsible for the tax calculations, is in a competent position to receive the money of the Peace Tax Fund.

The introducers state that the Belgian Institute will be under the trusteeship of the Prime Minister, but that the institute has to have all possible autonomy.

Section 11 prescribes that the institute has the task of the research and the financing of projects in connection with disarmament conversion, that is nonviolent defence, the conversion of the armament industry, peace education and in general disarmament and peace in the world.

In section 12 is prescribed that the institute will be under the rule of a General Council. This Council has a Dutch speaking section and a French speaking section, each of sixteen members. Each section has eight members, under whom eight MPs, four members from nongovernmental peace organisations and four members from nongovernmental development organisations.

The MPs are members as long as their parliamentary mandate, the other members can be member for four years. The members cannot perform more than two successive mandates.

Section 13 prescribes that the members of the General Council shall elect a chairman from among the members of the Council, for a period of two years, alternately a member from the Dutch speaking section and from the French speaking section.

The General Council has to give a detailed report each year to parliament about the activities of the institute and the financial administration. The accounts are added to the state budget.

The General Council can establish one or more advisory committees with regard to projects. The members of such a committee are elected because of their expertness.

Section 16 prescribes that the General Council acts in complete independence within the framework of this bill.

The bill is discussed in the Senate committee for finance in the session of February 11 1987. The report about this session is d.d. February 25 1987. The Minister of Finance pointed out that everybody can already pay to recognised institutions with exemption of tax. The Minister considers that the bill is of a different character, that in this proposal the citizen can spend a part of his tax money and that for this two new state dependent institutions have to be established, a Peace Tax Fund and an Institute for peace and development projects.

The Minister of Finance is of the opinion that it is not recommendable to establish new state dependent institutions, because there are too many already, that the projects to be financed by the aforesaid institute, can be financed also by existing institutions.

The minister could not agree from the beginning, with the principle that a citizen gives a destination to his tax money himself. The minister is of the opinion that this initiative has to be praised, but that the proposed means is inappropriate.

A member of the committee is of the opinion that it is dangerous to offer the possibility to citizens to decide themselves about the destination of part of their tax money. In the committee were seven votes against and six votes for the bill. The bill is discussed in the Senate on March 10 1987 and there was no vote. The Senate decided to demand that the Council of State would give advice about the bill.

The advice of the Council of State is d.d. October 21 1987. The Council of State is of the opinion that the establishment of a special fund is incompatible with the principle of the universality of the state budget, laid down in the Constitution. The Council of State points out that it is possible to book the money involved in a special section of the budget of the Department of Finance, and that it is not necessary therefore to establish a Peace Tax Fund.

The Council of State considers that the introducers did not inquire whether it is desirable or even imaginable that the already existing regulation for tax deductible gifts, would function together with the proposed regulation, that the procedures are different, but that the purposes are the same.

The Council mentions that in both regulations the beneficiary could be the same philanthropical, cultural and scientific institutions, but the introducers did not propose any choice for the taxpayers, because in their proposal the money will flow to the Belgian Institute for peace and development projects as the only beneficiary.

The Council speaks about a glaring contrast with regard to the regulation for tax-deductible gifts which gives the taxpayer a real choice with respect to the ideological pluralism.

In later bills, I mention for example the Bill d.d. June 7 1990, number 1226 (1989-1990), the advice of the Council of State with regard to the booking of the money into the special section of the budget of the Department of Finance has been followed. So the Peace Tax Fund is not necessary any more, but it becomes the name for the Institute for peace and development projects.

On January 29 1991, on February 5 1991 and on March 7 1991 the bill d.d. June 7 1990 is discussed in the Commission for Finance of the Belgium Chamber of Representatives.

MP De Vlieghere states there that certain taxpayers have an individual moral objection to the fact that by way of tax paid by them a part of the expenditure for the defence of the country is paid.

He mentions that this bill will give the possibility to them to express their objection and to destine a part of their taxes (5%) to a Peace Tax Fund, which will not imply that parliament will lose part of its budget right in favour of the individual citizen.

MP De Vlieghere points out that the bill is very much of present interest because of the war in the Persian Gulf. He mentions that in many western countries a growing number of people are convinced that the citizen has to control that his money is used in an ethical way by the tax office or even by private investors. With regard to this he mentions the ethical investment funds in the United States, Great Britain and such organisations in Belgium.

MP De Vlieghere mentions also that in some other western countries legal recognition for this conscientious objection is demanded, that in Flanders the Vredesactie works for the realisation of that and in French speaking Belgium the organisation ‘Les Contribuables pour la Paix’.

MP De Vlieghere points out that the bill does not have the intent to abolish the armed forces or even a diminution of the defence expenditure, only parliament can decide about that.

MP De Vlieghere states that this bill will not have as a consequence that the individual citizen concerned will pay ultimately less tax, he mentions the explanatory memorandum to the Dutch bill and he also mentions the German system of the ‘Kirchensteuer’ (Church tax) which allows a taxpayer to destine a part of his tax money to the denomination of his choice. He also mentions that the Belgium system of pension fund saving can be compared to that in some degree.

In the general discussion a MP states that he endorses the purposes of the bill but he considers the means not in conformity with the normal democratic procedures, according to which the majority, under proposal of the government, decides about the destination of the total sum of the tax revenue. That MP considers also that certain purposes of the bill can also be realised now within the existing system, and further he remarks that also other tasks for the proposed fund are imaginable for example the acquisition of grounds for parks, gardens, by the state. This MP also refers to section 115 of the Belgian Constitution which prescribes the universality of the state budget and following that the principle of unity of the treasury.

Another MP emphasizes that the proposal wants to accommodate primarily to a problem of conscience of the individual taxpayer and that the payment in advance to the fund is of minor importance, only to prevent that ultimately the person involved would pay less tax than his fellow citizens.

This MP states that the intent of the bill is not a repartition of the general resources, that is the domain of the parliament, but is the accommodation of a moral objection of an individual taxpayer who does not want to pay tax for a certain purpose, defence expenditure.

This MP compares the individual choice with the choice between military service and civilian service by which the fulfilment of the civilian service is only intended to prevent that the individual citizen who has a moral objection against the military service would have advantage with regard to his fellow citizens who do not have that moral objection.

The previous speaker remarks, that the bill only creates an additional expenditure, by way of the Peace Tax Fund, without that a compensating diminution of expenditure, for example with regard to the Department of Defence, is realised, and this speaker asks how such a proposal could accommodate to the conscientious objections of the individual citizen.

The Assistant Minister of Finance states that the budgetary impact of the bill could be about 30 billion Belgian francs, if all the Belgians would use this right.

The Assistant Minister asks why in the bill only physical persons can apply for the provision.

The next speaker recalls that also in the past proposals have been formulated to provide to the citizen with the possibility to destine his tax money partially. Nevertheless he states that he is against the proposal because the task of the fund is not broad enough.

This MP asked the Assistant Minister whether elsewhere in the world such a system already exists, according to which an individual citizen may destine a certain percentage of his tax money himself.

The Assistant Minister states that the bill, as other similar bills in other European countries, wants to give the individual taxpayer the possibility to decide at least partially, about the destination of his tax money. The Assistant Minister considers this as contrary to the fundamental principle of Belgian parliamentary democracy, according to which the tax collection and the destination of the tax revenue has to be carried out collectively, that is by Parliament and the Government.

The Assistant Minister argues the fact that the tax collection and the destination of the expenditure are indivisible, which cannot be determined by an individual not even when there is for example fundamental discord with the defence policy.

The Assistant Minister states that a generalised use of the possibility to pay a part of the tax money to all kinds of ethical social and political purposes would make the country quasi indirigible.

The Assistant Minister is of the opinion that the conscientious objection of the individual taxpayer does not counterbalance the basic civil duties in the respect to parliamentary rules.

An MP is of the opinion that the idea behind the bill is too simple: the citizens are divided in two categories, on the one hand the citizens with a conscience, which people do not fulfil military service but civilian service and/or want to destine part of their tax money to a Peace Tax Fund, and on the other hand citizens without a conscience, these are the people who want to pay taxes for defence.

This speaker states that this simplistic philosophy has success in public opinion, but that he, nevertheless, is convinced that the defence policy is necessary, as is the duty of each citizen to contribute to that by way of his taxes.

MP De Vlieghere denies that there is the intent to divide society into people with and without conscience, or to impair the budget right of the Parliament.

Another speaker states that the bill is introduced when there was no risk of war. The present day conflict in the Persian Gulf proves that peace is not served by an ill-considered diminution of the defence expenditure.

MP De Vlieghere considers that the budgetary impact will be very small, that his prognoses of the number of conscientious objectors will number some hundreds of taxpayers.

An MP emphasizes the unrealistic character of the bill. He states that one can also have moral objections against other expenditure for example the payment of interest. Because of debts of the past, which expenditure has to be done nevertheless.

A next speaker emphasizes that the tax money of each citizen will flow to the general resources. He states that with other words the individual taxpayer does not need to have problems of conscience about the real use of the tax money. This MP is afraid that, following this bill, also other funds, for less praiseworthy purposes would be established, for example for repatriation of immigrants.

The Assistant Minister is of the opinion that almost all parts of the state budget can cause conscientious objection: salaries for priests and vicars, subsidies for abortion clinics etcetera.

After this discussion the majority votes against the bill (13-1)

On March 17 1995 a new bill is introduced in the Belgian Parliament.

In the explanatory note is stated, that the development of armaments has become unacceptable for many citizens in our society, that one has only to consider the technological developments which threaten mankind and environment, and military strategies for use of nuclear weapons, that the bill will give the possibility to those citizens who have conscientious objections against the military destination of their tax money, to destine part of this tax money for a Peace Tax Fund.

In the explanatory memorandum is further stated that this bill will recognise the conscientious objections against tax duties with regard to military purposes and that the Peace Tax Fund is established as a budget fund under the rule of the Minister of the Interior, the task of the fund, especially the education of the population to civil defencibility, falls within the responsibility of that minister for the most part. The percentage is not fixed on five percent anymore.

Section 2 of the bill prescribes that the percentage of the tax assessment which has to be transferred to the Peace Tax Fund is fixed by the audit court each year. This percentage is the fraction of which the numerator is the expenditure for military defence with regard to the last budget year, as communicated by the Belgian Government to NATO, and of which the denominator is the total tax revenue for that year.

The Belgian bills are limited to the income tax. There is no verification procedure with regard to the seriousness of the conscientious objections.

7.4. The United Kingdom

For the comparison with the Dutch bill I will use the bill which is introduced in the House of Commons in 1986 d.d. March 26 1986.[8]

The bill is a so called Ten Minute Rule Bill introduced by MP Dennis Canavan.

The name of the bill is: Bill to allow people to withhold that portion of their tax which is at present spent on arms and related purposes, and to facilitate the payment by them of sums to be withheld to peaceful non-governmental purposes.

According to section 7 of the bill, the bill can be cited as the Peace Tax Act 1986.

In the preamble is stated: Whereas Her Majesty's Government, along with the governments of some other countries are now participating in an escalating arms race, including a nuclear arms race, which diminishes the security of the people of the United Kingdom and threatens the very existence of the entire human race and whereas some taxpayers have strong conscientious objections to being conscripted into the financing of such an evil war machine (...).

According to section 1 a Peace Fund is established, according to section 2 paragraph 1 the task of this fund will be the promotion of national and international security by non-military means. The Peace Fund can also work for the furtherance of international understanding, mediation and reconciliation, research to the causes and solution of conflicts, research and development with regard to conversion from military production to non-military production, aid in case of famine and development.

Section 2 paragraph 2 prescribes that the means of the fund will not be used as a substitution of existing and intended government expenditure with respect to subjects which are capable of being spent from the fund in itself.

The Peace Tax Fund will be governed by a Board of Trustees, existing of at least 5 and at most 9 members. The members will be appointed by the Prime Minister. The appointment must first go through consultation within the National Peace Council, the United Nations Association and the British Council of Churches. The appointments have to be approved by the House of Commons. The maximum period of office for a member of the Board will be six years. The Board has to report each year to the Parliament, also with regard to the financial management.

Section 5 prescribes that any person on the electoral register for parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom who has conscientious objections to the payment of taxes with regard to the total military expenditure with regard to certain categories of military expenditure, can be registered as a peace tax payer by signing a declaration and sending that declaration to the Minister of Finance. The minister will publish the names and addresses of the peace tax payers each year.

According to section 4 every taxpayer can make a payment in each financial year to the Peace Tax Fund. This amount will be equivalent to the amount everybody has to pay for Defence on average. This average-amount is the amount of the fraction with regard to which the Defence budget is the numerator and the total of persons on the aforementioned electoral register is the denominator.

Section 6 of the bill prescribes that every person who has made the payment to the Peace Tax Fund may deduct the corresponding amount from every tax debt he has.

MP Canavan states in the explanatory statement[9] that his bill proposes the establishment of a peace fund, that individuals would have the right to assign part of their tax to peace-building projects financed through the peace fund. He mentions further that he does not propose any new tax or any net increase or decrease in taxation.

Contrary to section 4, in which is prescribed that the taxpayer will make a payment to the Peace Tax Fund, MP Canavan states in the explanatory statement in the House of Commons that, if a person chooses to register his or her conscientious objections, the Treasury would make an appropriate payment for that person into a peace fund.

MP Canavan mentions further that under his proposals the normal payment would be the average individual contribution to the defence budget, that the total defence budget is about 18 billion pounds per year and that the electorate is about 40 million persons.

He considers:

If we divide the first figure by the second, we get an amount of 450 pounds per annum. That is how much the average person contributes to the budget of the Ministry of Defence. Under my proposals, therefore, an individual would have the right to demand that the Treasury paid up to 450 pounds per annum into the Peace Fund rather than to the MOD budget.

MP Canavan argues that some conservative MPs may say:

Wait a minute; this might create a dangerous precedent. It would open the doors for all sorts of people who object to various items of government expenditure, and would encourage them to withhold their taxes.

MP Canavan considers that it would be ironic if a party which supposedly believes in the freedom of the individual were to deny the freedom of an individual in this case.

MP Canavan is of the opinion that the bill creates no precedent, that it simply follows the precedent which was enacted in the 1916 legislation, when Parliament gave statutory recognition to those who have conscientious objections to military service, that if it is morally wrong to kill people, it is also morally wrong to pay other people to do the killing or to pay for the weapons which kill.

He is of the opinion that the horrific, indiscriminate nature of modern warfare, reinforces the conscientious objections of those who feel that the taxation system conscripts them into paying for the most destructive and evil war machine in which the United Kingdom has ever been involved.

He considers further that many people have strong moral objections to participating in such a crime against humanity, that the bill would give them the right to transfer some resources from warmongering to peace building, that the bill is a humane and sensible extension of the right of conscience.

The bill is not discussed in parliament further.[10]

On January 19 1994 MP Neil Gerrard has tried to introduce a new Peace Tax Bill in the House of Commons. The bill could be cited as the Conscientious Objection to Taxation for Military Purposes Bill. According to the proposal the military part of the taxes which the conscientious objector has to pay, would be transferred by the tax office to a fund for nonmilitary security, the Non-Military Security Fund. The direction of the fund would be the same as regulated in the former proposal. Also the task of the fund would be the same, only instead of famine relief and development aid additional tasks are incorporated community based work to develop and/or maintain democratic structures and human rights in areas of potential conflicts.

The attempt of MP Gerrard was without success, the proposal did not reach the stage of wording.[11]

In the bill of 1986 the amount of the payment to the Peace Tax Fund is related to what the average person contributes to the budget of the Defence Department. The problem with this approach is that nobody is an average person, so a lot of people will pay too much and a lot of people will pay not enough to the Peace Tax Fund. Especially for the last group perhaps the bill will not give sufficient provision for their conscientious objections.

7.5. The Federal Republic of Germany

For Germany I will use the bill introduced by Die Grünen (The Green Party) d.d. April 29 1986.

The organisation Friedenssteuerinitiative made this proposal. The bill is discussed in the Bundestag (House of Representatives of the German Parliament) on December 4 1986 and greatly criticised.

The name of the bill is ‘Gezetsentwurf zur Errichtung und Finanzierung eines Friedensfonds’[12] (Establishment and financing of a Peace Fund Bill).

In section 1 is prescribed that a peace fund will be established as a special fund of the federation to promote peace and disarmament and that the control over the expenditure of the resources of the fund will be in the hands of a Bundestag committee.

In section 2 is prescribed that the fund has to further and finance the following purposes and projects:

  1. National and international institutions which are working in the domain of world peace and peaceful conflict resolution;
  2. Research for nonmilitary and nonviolent resolution of international conflicts;
  3. Conferences and international exchange of experiences and ideas with regard to disarmament and peace;
  4. National and international institutions in the domain of development aid;
  5. Amelioration of the health, welfare and education systems and of the economic structure in developing countries;
  6. Aid programs for the civilian population in countries affected by damage of war and catastrophe and for refugees and expelled persons;
  7. Programs for peace education and development aid policy;
  8. Information of the public about the activities of the Peace Fund.

According to section 3 the resources of the fund are fixed each year by the federal legislator in the framework of the budget, and the quantity of these resources consists of the sum of the contributions of the income tax and salary tax of those taxpayers who have made the declaration as mentioned in section 4 of the bill.

According to section 4 income tax payers and salary tax payers can request that their income or salary tax will be transferred to the fund. In the request has to be stated that the petitioner rejects a war and war preparation in every form on grounds of conscience and that he therefore invokes section 4 of the Federal Constitution and is not prepared to pay taxes for armaments expenditure.

In section 5 is prescribed the resources of the Fund can be used directly for the financing of the tasks as mentioned in section 2 of the bill, in the percentage that the defence expenditure of the Federation is in relation to the total expenditure of the Federation. The surplus will be available for other expenditure of the Federation. This money may not be spent on armament and defence.

As said the bill is discussed on December 4 1986.

MP Fritsch (Green Party) gives an explanation of the bill. He states that the bill is situated in the area between the freedom of conscience as guaranteed in section 4 of the German Constitution on the one hand and the tax principle that a citizen may not decide himself over his tax money on the other hand. He points out that the bill has nothing to do with a tax boycott, but intends to give more accommodation to people who want to express their direct responsibility for peace also in this way.

MP Fritsch states that a growing number of people understand that they have to take the cause of peace in their own hands. Fritsch is of the opinion that it is too clear that those in power are not capable to realise peace and he mentions that he is often under the impression that those in power are not intend on peace. MP Fritsch considers this bill a beginning of a growing culture of placing the power of conscience opposite unnatural death.

MP Schroeder of the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) states that passing this bill would be a first step to diminish the power of the parliament, the freely elected supreme sovereign.

He explains that an important part of the tax revenue will not be at the disposal of the Bundestag anymore, that the budget power of the parliament would be undermined, that also the budgets of the lower authorities will be affected.

Schroeder points out that it is the very essence of democracy that the policy of the parliamentary majority, although not everybody will agree with that policy, will be respected by everybody and that compulsory regulations for all the citizens will be implemented.

He argues that giving a special status to individuals or groups would endanger the democratic basic order in its core.

Schroeder states that taxes are necessary for the general want of money of the State and have to be paid without any conditions, there is no armament tax, no peace tax, and no armament part and no peace part of the paid tax, the Constitution forbids an aggressive war and that therefore there is no financing of the preparations of an aggressive war.

Schroeder is of the opinion that the proposed division of the tax revenue will lead to discrimination of the citizens who pay their taxes according to the general regulations and those who buy themselves out by means of a simple declaration from the general tax payment, and who moreover because of their special status, dress themselves with the cloak of a self-styled ethically and morally better behaviour.

MP Schroeder states further that section 4 of the German Constitution protects only the conscientious objections to the military service.

He points out that the Green Party wants to follow a way, along which majority decisions will be turned back through the backdoor, that this party wants to push through its view about defence expenditure against the parliament.

MP Schroeder considers that this is judicially untenable, politically wrong and that it also can work as a boomerang against the introducers of the bill.

He mentions that when everybody could pay his taxes according to his subjective consideration, then for many necessary, but not always popular tasks in our society, there would be no money available anymore.

MP Schroeder points out that after a tax boycott against defence expenditure many other boycotts will follow, that the support will not always come from the same side in the Bundestag: tax boycott against the use of nuclear energy, tax boycott against road construction or with regard to the financing of abortion out of the public resources.

MP Schroeder ends his contribution to the debate by stating that the budget right of the parliament may not become paralysed, that there are good reasons for the budget right, that this right has proved to be very valuable, that this must remain unchanged.

MP Emmerlich of the Social Democrats (SPD) points out that in a parliamentary democracy the parliament decides about the expenditure of the state revenues.

He considers that when the possibility would be created for an individual to exclude the expenditure of his tax payments with regard to certain purposes, then parliament could not decide over the state expenditure anymore and parliament loses its right of say over the total policy.

He states that the majority principle is abolished then and that the democracy loses its power to act, that the democracy will not be capable of living anymore.

MP Emmerlich agrees with MP Schroeder that section 4 of the Constitution guarantees only the right of conscientious objections to military service.

He is of the opinion that the freedom of conscience of the individual citizen is not violated when the state revenues are spent for purposes which are incompatible with his conscience.

MP Seiler-Albring of the Liberal Party (FDP) states that the proposal of the Green Party to establish and finance a so called Peace Fund is a classic example of the way by which the Green Party uses a purpose desired by everybody and of high moral quality, for their own political purposes in a spectacular although not-serious manner.

MP Seiler-Albring states that when this bill is accepted conscientious objections to other payments from the federal budget cannot be refused.

She asks whether the Green Party demands the right on a conscientious decision only for those who support them politically.

She asks further whether those for whom the foreign and security policy of the Federal Republic of Germany[13] is a condition for a life of freedom, are without conscience.

MP Seiler-Albring considers the pretention that the establishment of a Peace Fund would increase peace, as very scandalous.

She states that a lot of the tasks of the Peace Fund are already paid for with federal money, which is money of the taxpayers, and that as far as that is not the case it is a laborious disguise of desires of green organisations to be financed by the State.

She asks the introducers of the bill their opinion when taxpayers would refuse to pay for the financing of the activities of their party as far as this is paid from the resources of the federation, with the reason that those activities would endanger the security of the Federal Republic.

She ends her contribution to the debate by stating that the proposed Peace Fund would diminish the defence capability of the Federal Republic of Germany and would weaken peace.

MP Conradi of the Social Democrats (SPD) points out that the power to wage war is dependant on technology and its financing, and that for example the power of the US to wage war is a result of enormous investments.

He considers therefore that citizens want to refuse to finance warfare by means of their tax payment and want to pay an alternative tax for peaceful purposes instead.

MP Conradi refuses to deal with this matter in a way that such a provision for tax payers is never made and then everybody could partake.

He considers the comparison of MP Seiler-Albring with road construction and nuclear energy not appropriate, because the Constitution allows a citizen only in one section of it to withdraw from a legal obligation, why it would not be allowed for the citizen on the analogy of the refusal of military service with the weapons, to refuse the military service with the taxes and to pay a peaceful, alternative tax instead of that.

MP Bohl (Christian-Democrats) interrupted saying that such a constitutional right does not exist.

MP Conradi states further that this question cannot be settled by pointing to the right to vote, to representative democracy and to the budget right of the parliament.

MP Gatterman of the Liberal Party remarks that the list of constitutional rights is limitative.

MP Conradi agrees with that, but he maintains that nothing forbids the making of a provision as proposed. He states that a freely elected parliament in a free democratic republic is free to consider this matter seriously.

The bill is later send to the parliamentary committees without further result.

The Green Party has introduced a new bill in October 1990.[14]

A parliamentary discussion did not follow because it was the end of the legislative period. In the beginning of the next legislation period the same bill is introduced again, but now by the Green Party/Alliance 90 (Die Grünen/Bündnis 90).[15]

The bills concerned are called ‘Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Befreiung von Militärsteuern’ (exemption of military tax bill).

In the general part of the explanatory memorandum is stated that everybody has to have the possibility to end his participation in the financing of armed forces and armament, when his conscience prescribes that to him.

The introducers consider that a lot of citizens did not refuse to pay their taxes until now only because this is legally and actually without any perspective or because their taxes are withheld. The intent of the bill is to change that.

The bill regulates the new financing of the military defence through a military fund, a purpose levy. The relation between the tax income and a special purpose levy makes it possible for an individual taxpayer to refuse the tax because of this purpose.

Section 1 prescribes that the Federation establishes a Federal Military Fund, under the rule of the Minister of Defence and that the expenditure of the Federation in relation to military and civil defence as to the participation to the defence alliance is financed by the fund exclusively.

In the explanatory memorandum per section is stated that the costs of the military defence which are to be paid from the fund are clearly defined, that they consist of all purposes which can provoke conflicts of conscience with regard to warfare, preparation of war and NATO.

Section 2 paragraph 1 prescribes that the Federation establishes a Federal Fund for the Conversion of the Armament production, under the rule of the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs in consultation with the Minister for the Environment, Nature Protection and Security of Reactors, the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Economic Cooperation.

Section 2 paragraph 2 prescribes that the Federal Fund furthers the conversion of armament into ecological and socially acceptable production and has to finance the expenditure of the federation in relation to disarmament measures, promotion of the understanding between peoples, world peace together with development aid.

In section 2 paragraph 3 is regulated that an advisory committee will be established for advice to the minister with respect to the expenditure. The composition of the committee will reflect the different interest groups at the rate of the purposes according to this section.

In the explanatory memorandum per section is stated that an argument against abolition of armament industry and armed forces is the loss of jobs, with such an argument even further armament is legitimized.

In this bill this problem is solved, because the money that will not flow to the Military Fund will be transferred to the Conversion Fund. The introducers realise that the resources of the Conversion Fund will not be enough to finance all that and money from the general resources will be necessary.

The explanatory memorandum states that a second argument against the abolition of armament was always the power to defend yourself against enemies. The introducers consider that this is not a problem anymore, because of the end of the armament race between USA and the Soviet Union.

They consider it as wrong to point to new dangers of war from the South, because the North is guilty and the South has so many economical and political problems.

They consider a change of mentality necessary in the western countries and more development aid to the South.

In section 3 is prescribed that the Minister of Defence will draft the budget in consultation with the other ministers concerned and that the Federal Government will decide about that and that the accountability legislation is applicable, the budget has to be laid down by law.

In section 5 paragraph 1 is prescribed that the Military Fund can only be fed in conformity with the sections of this bill, that other legal bodies are prohibited to feed the fund, that also loans are not allowed.

In the explanatory memorandum per sector in which is stated that this regulation has to give assurance that the citizen can really exclude himself totally from the financing of the armed forces and armament, that therefore it is necessary to forbid lower legal bodies to transfer payments to the fund.

In sector 5 paragraph 3, 4 and 5 is stated that the Defence tax is a purpose levy and that the income and/or salary tax payer is obliged to pay that defence tax, that this tax is a percentage of the income and/or salary tax.

The percentage will be fixed each year by the budget legislator.

In the explanatory memorandum is stated that the percentage will be the percentage of the military expenditure in the relation to the total revenue.

In section 6 in connection with section 5 paragraph 2 is prescribed that whom on grounds of conscience rejects military defence will be exempted from the defence tax and that this tax money will flow to the Fund for Conversion. The request has to be done each year.

In the explanatory memorandum is stated that the introducers do not consider an examination of the seriousness of the conscientious objections necessary, because it is of no advantage to apply for the provision.

According section 7 everybody can complain when he observes that the money in the two mentioned funds is not spent in conformity with the bill. The citizens have access to the courts in this matter.

On February 21 1991[16] this bill is discussed in the Bundestag.

MP Köppe (Alliance 90/Green Party) points out that especially for pacifists it is a very serious conflict of conscience to contribute financially to war preparation.

The bill does not give a general right of say to the citizen about the destination of his tax money.

He states that there is an analogy with the refusal of military service.

He states that because of the principle of equality the diverted tax money has to be transferred to the Fund for Conversion and that this can accommodate objections of especially the Christian Democrats that disarmament will cause loss of jobs, because through this fund finances will be available for this problem.

MP Rind of the Liberal Party is afraid of the consequences, that other people will ask for other special taxes. He states that the MPs of the Alliance 90 are not yet accustomed to financial policy,[17] that all the working with funds, pots, will make a bureaucratic government and that it will be the end of good order in financial policy when the tax destinations are transferred into pots.

MP Rind considers the right way for the diminution of the defence the way of continuing the peace policy. He points out that every four years the citizens can decide about the proportion of the armament expenditure in the elections for the Bundestag, that the citizen knows the position of the political parties about this issue.

He considers that the election decision is a decision of conscience also about that which is called by Alliance 90, defence tax.

MP Von Larcher of the Social Democrats considers also that the citizens decide about the destination of their tax money by elections.

MP Conradi of the Social Democrats considers that it is not right to dismiss this question with the words that it is a minority problem, because questions of conscience are always questions of a minority.

The parliamentary Assistant Minister of Finance Grünewald considers this bill as a restriction of the budget right of the legislator. He asks also how the Federal Government has to fulfil NATO obligations which are entered into by earlier governments.

The bill has been sent to the parliamentary committees without further result.

The last mentioned bill has been inspired by a proposal of Paul Tiedemann d.d. July 1988. Only the perspective of his proposal differs somewhat. The last mentioned bill is drafted from the perspective of the minority who wishes to make use of it.

Tiedemann has consistently drafted his proposal from the perspective of a majority, because it will always be that majority who has to pass such a bill.[18]

In the wording the difference can be seen, for example Federal Defence Fund instead of Military Fund, and not war tax but defence tax, but also in the contents of his proposal. In his draft[19] there is no conversion fund proposed, the diverted money will flow to the general resources.

He considers that when a majority makes a provision in the domain of defence tax, this will not be because that majority is of the opinion that defence is unethical.

If the majority would consider defence unethical, that majority would have abolished defence, for a majority has the right to do that.

Tiedemann states further the passing of a bill depends on a majority which considers armed forces and military necessary as always, and that at the utmost such a majority can be tolerant enough to make a provision for the minority which cannot support that policy.

One of the differences between the last mentioned bill and the proposal of Paul Tiedemann is that according to the Tiedemann proposal loans from other than legal public bodies are allowed for the fund on condition that it is visible.

Tiedemann gives a definition of conscientious objections in his proposal: section 5 paragraph 1 prescribes that who on grounds of conscience rejects the character and way of defence of the country, has the right of exemption from defence tax, and that the exemption on grounds of conscience presupposes that the measures financed through the Defence Fund are partly or wholly contrary to standards, which the applicant has made as parts of his inner being that he experiences the violation of it as objectionable and the own financial participation to it as condemnable towards himself.

In the Tiedemann proposal exemption is given when somebody is recognised as conscientious objector to military service, or makes an extensive statement to base on the conscientious decision.

When somebody has already given the declaration the previous year, he can point to that declaration, but the authorities have the right of inquiry.

When a judge has decided that military expenditure is paid from another source than the Defence Fund, then the conscientious objector can refuse to pay his income tax until the illegal financing has been corrected with retrospective effect.

Tiedemann has also made another proposal with regard to the assurance of freedom of conscience in the domain of the law of taxes and retributions.

This is not a specific proposal to accommodate to conscientious objections to military expenditure, but it is a proposal for a general provision against all kinds of tax destinations.[20]

The definition of conscientious objections is about the same as in his first mentioned proposal, so that the definition is now general and not specific on defence: Who rejects it on grounds of conscience certain expenditure from public budgets has the right of exemption to pay for that. The exemption on grounds of conscience presupposes that the measures financed from the resources of the budget concerned are partly or totally contrary to the standards which the applicant has made as part of his inner being so that he experiences the violation of it as objectionable and his own financial participation to it as condemnable towards himself.

Tiedemann proposes also here a sort of examination, a clear and personal statement of the applicant with a possible inquiry of the authorities.

He proposes an alternative duty with a sort of threshold: the conscientious objector has to pay an amount equal to the amount regarding to which he received exemption, increased with five percent, to be paid to an organisation working in the public interest, for example a charity.

7.6. Australia

In Australia a bill is introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1989 by Senator Vallentine. The short title is: Peace Trust Fund Bill.[21]

In section 5 of the bill is regulated that a natural person who objects, by reason of his or her commitment to pacifism rising out of his or her religious, moral or ethical beliefs, to paying taxes that are to be, or may be, used for military purposes, may apply to the Commissioner of Taxation to be registered as a conscientious objector.

Section 6 prescribes that the Commissioner of Taxation has to keep a register of persons who have duly made such an application.

According to section 8 such a registered conscientious objector can request that ten percent of his income tax will be transferred to the Peace Trust Fund.

The Peace Trust Fund has to be ruled by a Board of Trustees. The functions of the Board of Trustees are designed to promote domestic, regional and international peace and security through a variety of nonviolent, nonmilitary means.

The Board of Trustees is to comprise five persons appointed after consultation between the Minister of Finance and the National Consultative Committee on Peace and Disarmament and four nominees of the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Chairman is appointed by the Minister of Finance.

The bill defines the functions of the Board, which include: to enhance Australian independence and security by nonviolent and nonmilitary means, to support work for the enhancement of international law, international institutions and bilateral cooperation, to assist nations in the region to develop technologies appropriate to their national development, to support research into the nonviolent resolution of conflict, training and mediation and conflict resolution skills and their practise at international and local levels, to support peace research in Australian universities, to support peace education in Australian educational institutions, to support research and development involving the conversion of industrial production from military to nonmilitary uses, to support the development of communication and regional cooperation amongst the nations in the Australian region, and such other purposes as may be approved.

7.7. Italy

On May 11 1989 a bill is introduced in the Italian Chamber of Representatives by MP Guerzone and others.[22]

The intent of the bill is to make a provision for a tax option with respect to military expenditure, limitation of arms expenditure and the establishment of a Department for Unarmed Civil Defence.

In section 1 paragraph 1 is prescribed that each physical person may exercise an option with respect to a percentage equivalent to the fraction in which the military defence budget is the numerator and the total state budget the denominator.

According to section 1 paragraph 2 the taxpayer has to declare on his tax return that he wishes that the aforementioned percentage of his tax money will be spend for unarmed civil defence instead of for military defence.

In section 1 paragraph 3 unarmed civil defence is defined as defence against any external or internal armed attack on the territory, citizens or constitutional system of the republic, such defence to be organized using nonviolent means.

A Department for Unarmed Civil Defence will be established under the rule of the Prime Minister. This Department will have the tasks inter alia to draw up plans for unarmed civil defence and to coordinate their implementation, the research and experimental work in this domain, the necessary training and education of the population and to carry out studies designed gradually to replace defence with unarmed civil defence.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have to report to parliament on the expenditure according to this bill, in annex to the annual budgetary report.

The bill has never been discussed in parliament, neither has the second bill been discussed in parliament the bill of the MPs Rete and Verdi who proposed in 1993 the same text as the first mentioned bill.[23]

7.8. Comparison

The comparison will be restricted to a number of important aspects, namely:

  1. Who can apply for the provision for conscientious objections?
  2. The examination of the seriousness of the conscientious objections.
  3. The Peace Fund.
  4. The control of the Peace Fund.
  5. Which taxes are involved?
  6. The amount of the payment which has to be transferred to the Peace Fund.
  7. Consequences for the Defence budget and the budgets of the other Departments.
Ad 1 Who can apply for the provision for conscientious objections?

In the American bill: the individual who on grounds of religion or belief has conscientious objections against participation in war, in any form. According to case law moral and ethical conviction is included.

Contrary to the Dutch bills the American bill is restricted, has no provision for conscientious objection against nuclear warfare for example.

According to the Belgian bill of 1986 each income tax payer could apply for the provision, in the bill of 1995 only on condition that he states that he has conscientious objections to the military destination of his tax money. According to the last mentioned bill there is no provision for instance for nuclear war tax objectors.

This is also the system in the German bills, and the Australian bill.

In the Italian bill each income taxpayer can apply for the provision.

Ad 2 The examination of the seriousness of the conscientious objections.

In the Dutch bill originally an examination was not regulated, in the modified bill a verification procedure has been incorporated, as is the case in the American bill.

The Belgian, British, German, Australian and Italian bills do not have an examination procedure.

Ad 3 The Peace Fund.

All the bills except the later German bill and the Italian bill have regulated the establishment of a Peace Fund.

The later German bill has incorporated in the bill a Military Fund and its alternative destination the Fund for Conversion of Armaments.

In the Italian bill a new Department has to be established, a Department for Unarmed Civil Defence.

Ad 4 The control of the Peace Fund.

The Peace Funds are in the American, Australian and the Belgian bills under the control of the Minister of Finance and the boards.

In the Dutch bill the Minister of Defence is responsible.

In the German bill d.d. 1986 a special committee of the parliament has the control over the Peace Fund.

In the later German bill d.d. 1990 the Military Fund is under the rule of the Minister of Defence and the Conversion Fund is under the rule of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.

In the Italian bill the Department for Unarmed Civil Defence will be under the rule of the Prime Minister.

In the British bill members of the Board of Trustees are nominated by the Prime Minister.

Ad 5 Which taxes are involved?

It needs consideration that mostly salary taxes are included in the income tax.

In the Dutch bill of 1989 the income tax, the salary tax and the property tax. In the modified bill d.d. 1992 also the succession tax.

In the American bill the provision is related to the income tax, the estate tax and the gift tax.

In the Belgian, Australian and Italian bills: the income tax.

In the German bill the income and salary tax.

In the British bill: all direct taxes.

Ad 6 The amount of the payment which has to be transferred to the Peace Fund.

In the Belgian bill d.d. 1986 this amount was a fixed percentage of five percent. In the bill of 1995 the amount is a percentage of the tax assessment equivalent to the fraction in which the military defence expenditure is the numerator and the total tax revenue of the State the denominator.

In the Dutch bill the numerator is the budget of the Department of Defence and the denominator the total budget of the State.

In the Italian bill the numerator is the budget for military and arms-related expenditure and the denominator the total budget.

Regarding to the American bill and the German bill d.d. 1986 the numerator is the actual appropriations made for a military purpose and the denominator will be the total of the appropriations.

In the Australian bill the amount concerned is a fixed percentage of ten percent.

In the British bill the amount is an average payment which is the amount obtained by dividing the Defence budget by the total number of registered voters.

In the later German bill there was no percentage necessary, because the military fund is fed by a purpose levy.

Ad 7 Consequences for the military budget and the budgets of other departments.

In the Dutch bill the introducers have tried to respect the budget right of the parliament. This implies that the payment to the Peace Fund does not lead to an equivalent reduction of the Defence budget. The possibility exists that the budgets of other departments are cut in connection to the activities of the fund.

In the American bill it is explicitly formulated that the Peace Fund shall not release funds for military expenditure which, were it not for the existence of the fund, would otherwise have been appropriated for nonmilitary expenditures.

The Belgian and Australian bills and the German bill of 1986 do not have special regulations about this subject.

In the British bill is incorporated the regulation that the means of the Peace Fund may not be used as a substitution for Her Majesty's government expenditure on anything eligible for peace fund expenditure.

In the Italian bill a civil non-armed defence system is proposed. Substitution effects is not expected, prima facie.

In the later German bill the tax money that has to be transferred to the Conversion Fund will not flow into the Military Fund. This means that this bill is the only one which results in a direct reduction of the military expenditure. This means a tax increase is necessary when the Government wants to spend the same amount of military expenditure as has been laid down by budget law.


  • [1] Formerly the bill was called the ‘World Peace Tax Fund Bill’, and later the ‘United States Peace Tax Fund Bill’.

    The bills in the US House of Representatives are, inter alia, the bill d.d. April 9 1987, H.R. 2041, the bill d.d. April 3 1989, H.R. 1994, the bill d.d. April 17 1991, H.R. 1870.

    The bills in the US Senate are, inter alia, the bill d.d. November 17 1983, S.2105, the bill d.d. April 13 1989, S.784.

    According to the Newsletter of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, Number 3, Fall 1995, Washington, DC 1995, the present legislation in the US house of Representatives : H.R. 1402 and in the Senate : to be introduced.

  • [2] See the Statement of Mark O. Hatfield, US Senator from the State of Oregon, d.d. May 21 1992 before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the US House of Representatives, pages 41 to 49.
  • [3] See pages 111 and 112 of War Tax Resistance, a Guide To Withholding Your Support From The Military, Fourth edition by Ruth Benn, New York/Philadelphia, January 1992. See also Peter S.Brock, The Quaker Peace Testimony 1660 to 1914, York 1990, page 49: in 1673 during the war with the Republic of the United Netherlands the Assembly of the British Colony of Rhode Islands (now one of the fifty United States of America) made already a provision for conscientious objections to the military service.
  • [4] See the Report of this hearing; Hearing before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the Committee on Ways and Means House of Representatives,102 Congress,second session on H.R. 65 What I can do for America Act, H.R. 1733 To exempt from Income Tax Certain Common Investments Funds and H.R. 1870 United States Peace Tax Fund Act, May 21, 1992, Serial 102-98, Washington 1992.
  • [5] See the Newsletter of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, Number 3, Autumn 1995, Washington, DC 1995.
  • [6] Peace Tax Bills introduced in the Belgian Senate are:
    • 915(1984-1985) bill d.d. June 26 1985;
    • 210(1985-1986) bill d.d. March 20 1986, meeting, resp.report Finance Committee February 11 resp.25 1987,
      • general Senate debate March 10 1987, Advice Council of State October 21 1987;
    • 753(1988-1989) bill d.d. June 30 1989;
    • 1368(1994-1995) bill d.d. March 17 1995.

    Peace Tax Bills introduced in the Belgian House of Representatives are (the list has to be completed yet):

    • ?(1984-1985) bill d.d. May 9 1985;
    • 43(1985-1986) bill d.d. December 4 1985;
    • ?(1988-1989) bill d.d. October 12 1988;
    • 1226(1989-1990) bill d.d. June 7 1990, Amendment d.d. January 29 1991,
      • meetings of the Finance Committee January 29 1991, February 5 1991 and March 7 1991,
      • report of the Finance Committee d.d. March 8 1991
    • ?(1992-1993) bill d.d. March 18 1992.
  • [7] In 1995 the last conscripts served in the Belgian armed forces. From then on it has become an all volunteer force.
  • [8] Bill 124, Ordered by the House of Commons to be Printed, 26 March 1986, see also Hansard page 949 and page 950 26 March 1986.
  • [9] See page 949 of Hansard 26 March 1986.
  • [10] See Christopher S.Hanna, Conscientious Objection to Paying Tax for Military Weapons, Aberdeen, UK, February 1992, page 83: Due to the nature of Ten Minute Rule Bills, it went no further than an unopposed first reading, but it did result in some publicity.
  • [11] Source: Gerald Drewett, Clerk of the European Quaker Network on the Peace Tax Concern, January 3 1996 in connection with the Newsletter ‘Conscience’ of the Peace Tax Campaign March 1994.
  • [12] Bundestag Drs 10/5420.
  • [13] In 1986: West-Germany.
  • [14] Bundestag Drs 11/8393.
  • [15] Bündnis 90 is a party based in the new federal states (former DDR).
  • [16] Bundestag Ber 12/450.
  • [17] This because Alliance 90 (Bündnis 90) is not based in the old federal states. Rind considers this party therefore as unexperienced.
  • [18] Paul Tiedemann, Das Recht der Steuerverweigerung aus Gewissensgründen (The right of tax refusal on principle grounds), Hildesheim, Germany, 1991, see page 99.
  • [19] Ibid. pages 149 to 171.
  • [20] Ibid. page 147 as far as 149, Vorschlag eines Gesetzes zur Sicherung der Gewissensfreiheit auf dem Gebiet des Abgabenrechts (Proposal for a Protection of Freedom of Conscience in the domain of Legal Regulations with regard to Taxes and other Financial Contributions to the State Act).
  • [21] Bill d.d. 1989, number 89/166346 with explanatory memorandum.
  • [22] As published in Azione nonviolenta XXVI, N.10 (October 1989).
  • [23] See page 19 of Obiezione di Coscienza alla Spese Militari, Guida Pratica 1994 (Conscientious objections to military expenditure, Practical Guide) of the Centro Coordinatore Nazionale OSM, Brescia, Italy, 1994 and an update from this Centro,letter d.d. January 15 1996.

Copyright and responsibility Erik Th.Hummels March 1996

Berkenlaan 14, 3707 BC Zeist, The Netherlands

tel.+31.30.6922057 and +31.2511224

telefax +31.30.2541786 internet: ehummels@xs4all.nl

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