A few months ago, a Tasmanian family known for making honey, owning a bed and breakfast, and living in a home on the island state’s Meander Valley said they didn’t have to pay taxes on any of their properties because the land belonged to God, not the government.
The Beerepoot family made their last rates payment for their three properties in July 2010.
Meander Valley Mayor Craig Perkins told the ABC that, in news that will come as a disappointment to homeowners across the country, there was no religious exemption from paying council rates.
“Under law, people who are owning properties, the title owners are required to pay rates, under legislation, and people’s Christian religious beliefs make no difference,” he said.
“If we exempted them on this occasion, everybody would start saying they have a religious belief and don’t have to pay rates.”
The Mayor was right. The Beerepoots had no business avoiding taxes just because a voice in their heads told them their debts were forgiven. It’s not like God’s going to be there to put out fires, collect the garbage, fill the potholes, or provide police protection if needed.
As one Facebook commenter noted, by their logic, anyone could walk into their store and take the honey without paying since it was made by bees.
Anyway, the clock has been ticking and the alarm is set to go off in a few weeks. On September 1, the city plans to auction off the Beerepoots’ property unless they pay their backtaxes.
When asked if the family intended to pay the rates before the auction owner Fanny Beerepoot said “well, there’s not really much to talk about”.
Meander Valley councillors resolved to sell the three properties in March when $9,332 of rates was outstanding.
The proceeds of the sale — minus the unpaid rates — will be given to the Beerepoot family, despite claims the land is owned by God.
It’s a strange end to a ridiculous story, but the Beerepoots brought this upon themselves. But by their logic, God will win the auction so they have nothing to worry about.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Linda for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)