Location: Flemings Hotel. Private meeting.
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) to the MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS:
(a) “How can a person best fight the British Income Tax?
(b) “Is it recommended to absolutely refuse to pay it?”
(c) “Is an employer bound by British law to furnish returns of salaries and wages of employees, and if so under what penalty?”
ART O'CONNOR (Kildare S.) to the PRIME MINISTER: "Have the Ministry of the Dáil considered what steps should be recommended to the people on the matter of Income Tax; whether they should refuse to fill in forms asking for returns of Income, and in the event of writs being served what public action should be taken to nullify the execution of distress warrants?"
SEAN MACENTEE (Monaghan S.) to the MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS:
"Has he any proposals to set before the Dáil regarding a National Taxation Campaign?"
The MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT (for the MINISTER FOR FINANCE):
"The Finance Minister is considering the question of Income Tax. At the last meeting of the Ministry he reported that he had not yet completed his investigations. The bulk of Income Tax in Ireland is paid at the source by public companies, etc. A great number of persons are entitled to secure a rebate under the terms of Income Tax Laws.
"Public companies have made returns of their employees and the salaries paid them to the Income Tax Authorities and private individuals may be bound, if balance sheets, etc., be demanded, to make such a return in their own interests. The principal difficulty in the case is to secure sufficient support for an agitation against the imposition. Income Tax is illegal, and an evasion of the 7th Article of the ‘Act of Union,' but it has not been objected to in time. If there were a general strike against it we would have some hope of defeating it, but the bulk of the income tax is payable by those who are against us."
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) observed that the answer did not meet the question. If an employer refuses to hand up the wages sheet what penalty is he liable to?
The MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT: "The Ministry are considering the question generally."
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) asked if the Ministry would consider the advisability of circulating the information to Members before the next meeting of the Dáil.
J. MACDONAGH (Tipperary N.) denied that it was a fact that the bulk of income tax was paid direct. He raised this question in February last, and sent on a memo to the Ministry on the subject, but nothing was ever done in connection with it. He pointed out that there were 30,000 assessments due since last July by the manual workers, and suggested that the Ministry get in touch with these people so that combined action might be taken. He said that the question as to penalties had not been replied to. He asked the Minister for Home Affairs if there was anything to put before the Dáil in regard to the anti-taxation campaign generally?
In 1918, Sinn Féin had proposed the payment of all land annuities and taxes should cease if conscription were imposed. However, no new policy was forthcoming in 1919.
The ACTING-PRESIDENT, replying, said that they had no proposals at the moment. The revenue from Ireland last year was:—
Other Revenue, £15,526,000
making a total of £25,191,000, representing the taxable articles of revenue. In addition there was a sum of £1,545,000 from the Post Office and £129,000 from miscellaneous sources, making altogether a total revenue of £26,865,000. The National anti-taxation campaign could only be directed against the consumption of excisable articles. The only important direct tax in Ireland was the Income Tax, and this tax amounted to £6,000,000 of the total 26 millions. Of that amount more than four millions was paid by people out of sympathy with them. Of the other two millions not more than half a million was paid directly. If a real effort was to be made, they must deal with Customs and Excise revenue, and the only way to do that was to stop the consumption of excisable articles such as whiskey, beer, wines, liquors, and tobacco. A campaign to do that would be faced with the fact that while they reduced England's revenue they would also hit Ireland's trade, as that trade was largely in tobacco, beer, and whiskey.