A family in Tasmania has been ordered to pay more than AUD 2m to the Australian Taxation Office after failing to pay income tax, claiming paying tax was ‘against God's will’.
According to ABC News in Australia, Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot 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."
Beerepoot and his sister Fanny Alida Beerepoot faced charges relating to unpaid income tax in 2017. Beerepoot argued: "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,” adding that: “Transferring our allegiance from God to the Commonwealth [of Australia] would mean rebelling against God and therefore breaking the first commandment."
However, the judge in the case, Associate Justice Stephen Holt, was unimpressed by the defendants’ arguments. He noted: "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?”
While Associate Justice Holt accepted what he called ‘honestly and genuinely held beliefs’, he nevertheless ordered them to pay the taxes due along with costs and interest charges.