CHRISTIAN missionaries Fanny Alida Beerepoot and her brother Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot told the Supreme Court of Tasmania yesterday (Wednesday) that paying taxes was ‘against God’s will’ and it was for this reason they stopped paying what was due to the Australian Taxation Office in 2011.
But their argument was rejected by Associate Justice Stephen Holt , who said there was no specific reference in the Bible to support their claim. Holt said:
I believe [their] 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 Beerepoot family run a honey business in Tasmania’s Chudleigh Valley. The Melita Honey Farm‘s website says the Beerepoots , Fanny, Rembertus and their mother Lida, pictured above, originate from Holland – and announced that their shop would be closed “due to personal family matters) on July 16 and 17 (the dates of their court appearance)
The site reveals that:
Fanny has a background in clinical nutrition and loves to talk about the medicinal and nutritional values of our Tasmanian Manuka Honey as well as our wide range of other health products. Lida and Fanny look after the feminine side of the shop, that is, they make sure everything looks pretty.
Awww, isn’t that sweet!
Justice Holt ordered the Beerepoots pay an estimated $1.159 million and $1.166 million respectively, covering income tax debt, administrative costs, interest charges and running balance account deficit debts.
The pair wound up in court after they both failed to pay an estimated $930,000 in income tax and other charges in 2017.
Solicitor Stephen Linden told the court the pair had been served two notices of their debt and had failed to lodge their tax returns.Rembertus Beerepoot told the court that Australian taxation law was contrary to the law of:
Almighty God. 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.
Representing themselves, the pair told the court they had previously paid income tax prior to 2011 but that a deepened spiritual relationship meant they later realised paying tax was “against God’s will”.
Rembertus Beerepoot told the court the pair sent letters to the Queen and Prime Minister last month calling into question the jurisdiction of taxation and the validity of the legislation.
He argued that by being made to pay taxes, their dependence on God was being taken away from them, which was causing Australia to be cursed.
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. Transferring our allegiance from God to the Commonwealth would mean rebelling against God and therefore breaking the first commandment
Fanny Beerepoot added:
As we reject God, the curses upon us become greater, but if we return to God’s teachings there will be healing. 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.
In 2017, the family had their 2.44-hectare property at Mole Creek in Northern Tasmania seized and later sold for $120,000 by the Meander Valley Council after they refused to pay about $3,000 worth of rates on the property over seven years.