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Australian Couple Who Refused To Pay Tax Ordered To Pay $2.3m

Australian Couple Who Refused To Pay Tax Ordered To Pay $2.3m

An Australian family who refused to pay tax for almost a decade, have been ordered to pay more than AUD $2.3 million (£1.3m / US $1.6m) by a judge.

Fanny Alida Beerepoot and Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot, who had previously owned the Melita honey farm in northern Tasmania, claimed it was 'against God's will' and had not paid anything since 2011.

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According to reports, the husband and wife represented themselves in court and told the judge that they weren't liable for the $930,000 (£524,000 / US $650,000) tax bill as everything belongs to God and not the Australian government.

Fanny Alida Beerepoot and Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot. Credit: ABC News
Fanny Alida Beerepoot and Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot. Credit: ABC News

Speaking during the hearing, Mrs Beerepoot said: "We don't own anything because we are His [God's]" and that 'the law of the almighty God' was the 'supreme law of this land'.

She added: "Transferring our allegiance from God to the Commonwealth would mean rebelling against God and therefore breaking the first commandment.

"As we reject God, the curses upon us become greater, but if we return to God's teachings there will be healing.

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"We rely on the blessings we receive from God, which we give to Him and not to an outside entity such as the tax office."

The couple previously owned Melita Honey Farm. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Peripitus
The couple previously owned Melita Honey Farm. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Peripitus

Her husband also told the court: "We believe that the constitution affirms the fact that the Commonwealth resides within the jurisdiction of the law of the Almighty God and the law of the Almighty God is the supreme law of this land."

Unfortunately for the couple, however, associate justice Stephen Holt didn't quite see things the same way, and said the Bible doesn't say 'thou shalt not pay tax'.

He said: "I believe the submissions to be honestly and genuinely held beliefs rather than an attempt to avoid tax liabilities. But in my view, the Bible effectively said that civil matters and the law of God operate in two different spheres."

During the court hearing, the pair told the judge that they had contacted the country's prime minister Scott Morrison, as well as the Queen, claiming Australia's tax laws were void.

The couple has even written to the country's prime minister about their case. Credit: PA
The couple has even written to the country's prime minister about their case. Credit: PA

They also said Australia had been blighted by 'drought and infertility' because of refusing to follow the word of God.

Mr Beerepoot added: "As we move outside of God's jurisdiction, this country has received curses which we're already seeing in the form of droughts and infertility."

Following the court case, on Wednesday the judge ordered the couple to pay a combined cost of AUD $2.3m, with Mr Beerepoot told to pay $1.159m (£653,000 / US $816,000) and Mrs Beerepoot set to fork out an additional AUD $1.166m (£657,000 / US £820,000). This is a combination of income tax debt, interest and administrative costs.

Featured Image Credit: ABC News

Topics: World News, Interesting, Australia

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

 

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