Protester takes tax fight to High Court
A PEACE protester is due in High Court today to plead for the right to pay taxes without contributing to the military.Roy Prockter, 55, a quaker from Thorpe-le-Soken, is so adamant his money should not be spent on war he has cut down his work as a chartered management accountant so that he earns too little to pay income tax.
By Juliette Maxam
A PEACE protester is due in High Court today to plead for the right to pay taxes without contributing to the military.
Roy Prockter, 55, a quaker from Thorpe-le-Soken, is so adamant his money should not be spent on war he has cut down his work as a chartered management accountant so that he earns too little to pay income tax.
He was prosecuted by the Inland Revenue in 1993 after he refused to pay all of his income tax. He lost the case and was ordered to pay in full.
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Now he has joined forces with six other conscientious objectors from around the country, who regard the tax system as a form of conscription which forces them to pay others to kill on their behalf.
They have each partially withheld taxes, some for years, risking fines or imprisonment.
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They have pooled their experience and instructed solicitors to seek a judicial review for the right to divert the military proportion of their taxes to non-military purposes.
Their initial application was declined, but the judge opened the door to an extended hearing of an appeal against the refusal, which is due to take place in London today.
Mr Prockter said: "My action is based against all war. I'd been thinking for many years it was wrong. "I'd seen a poster saying: 'Are you praying for peace but paying for war?' which brought it home to me that I was very much doing that.
"Being an accountant and having more knowledge about tax, I had the opportunity to make a protest."
At the time of Mr Prockter's prosecution he was self employed and so able to control how much money he paid to the Inland Revenue.
He then worked for a company and was in a PAYE scheme and so unable to avoid income tax.
Since then he has cut down the amount of work he does so that he is not liable to pay income tax.
He added: "I would like to earn more money and pay tax, but at the moment I'm cutting back my activity so I don't. It also means I'm not paying for any hospitals and schools that I'd like to."
Mr Prockter said he hoped the judge would agree to a full judicial review.
"We'd like for a judge to declare the current UK tax legislation as incompatible with the Human Rights Act. That would put pressure on the Government to do something about it."
Mr Prockter suggested income tax from conscientious objectors could go into a non military conflict resolution fund.
The group, dubbed the Peace Tax Seven, is due to hold a short demonstration outside the High Court, with over 50 supporters. They will present a petition of over 2,000 signatures backing their cause.