Family refuses to pay Sh145m in taxes, says it is against God’s will
A pair of Christian missionaries in Australia were recently ordered to pay over Sh145 million to the Australian Taxation Office after failing to pay income tax because Australian taxation law was contrary to the law of Almighty God.
Fanny Alida Beerepoot and her brother Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot were brought in front of a judge at the Supreme Court of Tasmania on Wednesday after they both failed to pay the said tax. Prosecutors showed that they pair had been served notices on two separate occasions, but they still failed to lodge their tax returns.
In their defense, the two siblings argued that the law of Almighty God was supreme in Australia and they didn’t owe anything to the Commonwealth because they belong to Him.
“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,” Ms. Beerepoot told the court.
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“We don’t own anything because we are His. 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.”
Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot told the judge that until 2011 both he and his sister had paid taxes, but as their spiritual relationship deepened, they realised that continuing to do so was “against God’s will”. He argued that the Commonwealth was under God’s jurisdiction which meant that abiding by the laws of men would incur the wrath of the Almighty.
“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,” Mr Beerepoot said.
After hearing the two siblings’ arguments, the judge expressed his belief that the Beerepoots’ decision to not pay income tax had been honestly and genuinely influenced by their religious convictions, rather than malicious intent to avoid tax liabilities, but argued that unless they could produce a Bible passage that said ‘thou shall not pay tax’, they were still guilty.
“If you can’t find me a passage in scripture or gospel that says ‘thou shall not pay tax’ then can you see I have difficulty finding a starting point?” Associate Justice Stephen Holt said.
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“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.”
The two siblings were ordered to pay an estimated AUD$1.159 million and AUD$1.166 million respectively covering their income tax debt, penalties, administrative costs and running balance account deficit debts.
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