In Tasmania, Australia, a brother and sister were ordered to pay $2.32 million in back taxes, interest, and court costs several years after they ceased paying taxes. The Beerepoots regularly paid taxes up until 2011, when they claimed they got a deeper understanding of God and what he said in his word. According to them, their new understanding revealed that God was not in favor of government taxation.
The Beerepoots argued that since the very constitution of Australia acknowledged that the Australian government was in the jurisdiction of the laws of Almighty God, the Bible teaches that people in God’s jurisdiction are not required to pay taxes. It was God’s will for his own people to be free of any taxation. The government had demanded for several years that the family needed to pay up, but after the Beerepoots repeated refusals, some of their assets were seized in 2017, including real estate they owned. The government sold the property, but the Beerepoots remained unfazed, claiming the land really belonged to the Lord, not them. At the end of the trial, the judge said he believed that the Christian family’s beliefs were sincere and they weren’t trying to defraud the government, but ordered them to pay the government since, in his view, they did not show a concrete passage in the scripture that commanded them not to pay.
Did these Christians have a valid view of taxation, or were they being too extreme? Was their interpretation of the Bible accurate or were they out in left field with their understanding?
Source: Natalie Dreier, Family that says taxes are ‘against God’s will’ still has to pay, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 18, 2019.