Australian Christian family refusing to pay tax to local authority, saying land belongs to God

A view of the Tasmanian town of Chudleigh, where the Beerepoot family owns a honey farm shopfront, a bed and breakfast and a house.(Meander Valley Council)

A Christian family in the isolated Australia island state of Tasmania is defying local authorities who are demanding that they pay tax for the land they're occupying for seven years now.

The Beerepoot family is refusing to pay on the ground that the land they have settled in belongs to God, not to the Meander Valley Council, the local government unit in the area, The Guardian reported.

On Tuesday, The Meander Valley Council voted to sell the questioned property in an attempt to recoup unpaid taxes, The Mercury reported.

Rembertus and Fanny Beerepoot reportedly owe nearly $10,000 in taxes on three properties on the island.

The council voted 5-4 to proceed with the sale of the properties.

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Last month the Beerepoot family issued a statement in response to the council's payment demand.

"Council's world view is that the 'law of the land' governs life and thus also provides progress, growth and security," the statement says.

"On the other hand we believe that our Heavenly Father is sovereign and that he reigns today, thus we worship Him and Him alone so that His will is established on the earth. You are asking us to bow down to a false god which is something we cannot do," it adds.

Mayor Craig Perkins said the council had tried to reason with the family, even referencing biblical scriptures, but to no avail.

Reporting on the controversy, News.com noted that "while their Heavenly Father has apparently absolved the Beerepoots of their council debts, He seemingly does not object to them profiting from His earthly possessions."

The family owns the Melita Honey Farm, a popular tourist stop in Chudleigh, northern Tasmania. The family also runs a bed and breakfast aside from their home within the Meander Valley Council municipality. 

Perkins said the Beerepoots have to pay their taxes. "If we said, 'no, they don't have to', we would all convert to some deep Christian beliefs, or other deeply-held religious beliefs and claim that we didn't have to pay it either," he was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

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