A Christian family who refused to pay income tax because it went “against God’s will” have been ordered to pay more than A$2m (£1.1m $1.4m) to Australia’s tax office.
Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot and Fanny Alida Beerepoot, of Tasmania, had not paid income tax since 2011.
Their farm was seized and sold by their local council in 2017 after they failed to pay seven years-worth of rates.
Ms Beerepoot told the court: “We don’t own anything because we are [God’s].”
The siblings represented themselves in the Supreme Court of Tasmania on Wednesday, after they failed to pay some $930,000 in income tax and other charges in 2017, ABC News reports.
Mr Beerepoot had argued that the law of God is the “supreme law of this land” and making people pay tax was weakening their dependency on God, an act which was leading to “curses… 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,” he said, according to the public broadcaster.
In his judgement, Associate Justice Stephen Holt said that while he believed the Beerepoots’ beliefs to be genuinely held rather, he said there was no specific reference in the Bible to support their argument.
“In my view, the Bible effectively said that civil matters and the law of God operate in two different spheres.”
The siblings were ordered to pay similar sums – Ms Beerepoot A$1.17m and Mr Beereport A$1.16m – to cover “income tax, administrative penalties and general interest charges” and other costs, court documents show.
Christian family fined after arguing taxes ‘against God’s will’}