Founding Statement of World Taxpayers Associations

The taxpayers’ movement has grown out of the desire of citizens to protect themselves from the increasing tax claims of the state. It works toward a society with lower taxes and more individual freedom. It wishes to stimulate efficiency and economy in the public sector. It supports legislation to limit tax burdens, prevent unjust harassment by tax collectors, and provide clear information about government taxation and expenditure.

World Taxpayers Associations is a federation of taxpayers associations throughout the world. Its aim is:

    • to stimulate contacts and exchanges of information between the different countries and their organizations;
    • to spread the taxpayers’ movement to other countries;
    • to stimulate comparative studies of public expenditure and taxation;
    • to enable members in one country to receive assistance in tax matters from associations in other countries; and
    • to stimulate research on the effects of taxes and government spending on economic development.

Source: Paragraph 2 of the Statutes of World Taxpayers Associations, adopted by the founding conference in Washington, DC, USA on 28-30 September 1988.

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WTA is educational, non-profit, and non-political

WTA is organized and shall be operated exclusively for educational purposes, including and not limited to education, information, and research on facts, methods, and principles of taxation, government spending, and debt, limited government, economic growth, and protection of taxpayers and citizens. All WTA activities shall be conducted in lawful ways.

WTA is non-profit. WTA’s income, receipts, and assets shall be used only for its educational purposes and not for the benefit of any person or any for-profit entity. WTA may pay reasonable compensation for services rendered to WTA and reimbursement of reasonable and approved expenses incurred for the benefit of WTA.

WTA shall not endorse, support, or oppose any political party or any candidate for public office. No substantial part of WTA’s activities shall consist of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation.

Source: Paragraph 1 of the Statutes of World Taxpayers Associations, as amended by the WTA Members’ Conference in London, England, on 9 September 2010.

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Independent of all governments and political parties

World Taxpayers Associations and all member associations shall be independent of all governments and all political parties.

World Taxpayers Associations shall not accept funds from any government or governmental agency. This policy is recommended for member associations.

Source: Paragraph 3 of the Statutes of World Taxpayers Associations, as amended by the WTA Members’ Conference in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, on 20 November 2004.

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Member associations have the right
to adopt their own positions

Member associations always have the right to adopt their own positions on taxes, government spending, and other public policy issues and are not required to agree with WTA positions. WTA and its representatives shall not speak on behalf of any member association unless requested to do so, specifically and in advance, by that association.

Source: Paragraph 4 of the Statutes of World Taxpayers Associations, as amended by the WTA Members’ Conference in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, on 20 November 2004.

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Tax reform and taxpayer protection;
replace income taxes with a low-flat-rate tax;
taxpayer protection legislation, preferably in Constitution

The taxpayers of all nations need and deserve tax reform and taxpayer protection. We recommend that all nations take these actions and that our member associations work to adopt them:

1.) Each nation having an income tax should replace it with a flat tax that has only one low rate and a large personal exemption amount. This tax reform would be simple and fair, and would promote economic growth with more good jobs and prosperity for all people. Estonia’s flat tax is a good example, followed by Latvia and Lithuania.

2.) Each nation should adopt taxpayer protection legislation. If possible, it should be placed in the national Constitution. This legislation should

    • require that any new tax or tax increase must be adopted by a specific vote of the people,
    • require a balanced budget, and
    • reduce the pay of members of parliament if the budget is not balanced.

The taxpayer protection legislation of the Canadian province of Ontario is a good example.

Source: Resolution adopted by the WTA Members’ Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, on 1 July 2000.

Replace income taxes with consumption taxes;
alternative of low flat income tax;
all taxes must be visible;

We, the Members of World Taxpayers Associations hereby find that:

    • many countries with higher taxes on productive activity — work and investment — have lower rates of economic growth, and
    • the income tax has been shown to be one of the most economically destructive types of tax, and
    • countries that can redirect consumption towards investment will have higher growth in the long-run.

Therefore, be it resolved:

    • the Members of World Taxpayers Associations applaud efforts in some countries to eliminate all taxes on income from work or investment and replace these taxes with a tax on consumption such as a national sales tax, and also applaud efforts to reduce income taxes in countries that do not completely eliminate income taxes, and
    • we strongly believe that all taxes must be visible to taxpayers. Politicians cannot be allowed to impose taxes that are invisible to the public, and
    • in particular, we support the efforts of proponents of the “Fair Tax” in the United States of America. We believe that if countries would end their taxes on productive activity and adopt proposals such as the Fair Tax, they would see immediate marked increases in economic growth and development and the lives of all citizens would be bettered, and
    • for countries that do not replace their income taxes with a visible consumption tax, we suggest the alternative tax reform of a low flat income tax with a large personal exemption.

Source: Resolution adopted by the WTA Members’ Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on 14 June 2001.

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Support international tax competition and diversity

We, representatives of taxpayers from around the world, declare that the right to flee political and economic oppression is basic to human liberty and dignity. It is a fundamental human right for individuals to move themselves and their property to nations of other political jurisdictions with levels of taxation and public services compatible with their individual tastes and preferences.

We most vehemently protest efforts by organizations of governments to restrict this right through agreements to limit tax competition and mandate fiscal conformity. Tax competition and diversity have been an engine for human economic progress that must continue. The attempts of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to form a tax cartel strike a blow against human economic expression and must be resisted by taxpayers throughout our planet.

Source: Adopted by the WTA Members’ Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on 14 June 2001. This statement was published as “The St. Louis Declaration” and was signed by 33 citizen taxpayer organizations from around the world, including World Taxpayers Associations.