Siblings forced to pay $2.3m tax bill
CHRISTIAN siblings in Tasmania who refused to pay income tax because it goes against the word of God have been ordered to hand over more than $2.3 million to the Australian Taxation Office.
Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot and Fanny Alida Beerepoot faced Hobart Supreme Court this week owing almost $930,000 in income tax and other accrued charges. Mr Beerepoot told the court taxation is a form of ownership, which doesn't rest with the Commonwealth of Australia.
"Ownership is vested in almighty God and it's him we serve," he said. "The Commonwealth of Australia has not been granted the power of ownership because that is vested in almighty God." Associate Justice Stephen Holt asked the Beerepoots to find a piece of scripture stating you don't have to pay tax.
"If you can't find me a passage ... that says 'thou shall not pay tax' then, you see, I have difficulty finding a starting point," he said.
Justice Holt referenced a Bible passage he found during a Google search where Jesus tells followers to pay a tax to Caesar and "give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's".
He ordered the Beerepoots pay a combined $2.327 million, covering income tax debt, administrative costs, other charges and running balance account deficit debt.
In 2017, the pair had their property at Mole Creek in northern Tasmania auctioned by council after refusing to pay about $3,000 worth of rates because they said the land belonged to God.
"We believe that our heavenly father is sovereign and that he reigns today, thus we worship him and him alone so that his will is established on the earth," they wrote in a letter to council.
"You are asking us to bow down to a false god which is something we cannot do," The house was sold to a mystery bidder for $120,000.
The Beerepoots had earlier refused to pay rates at their Melita Honey Farm cafe and shop in nearby Chudleigh but were bailed out by an anonymous donor in June, 2017.