Bleats

A Christian Family Tried To Dodge Tax And Blame The Bible, Now They've Got One Hell Of A Bill

You'll need a better excuse than "God said it was cool."

Hot tip: if you were planning to file your tax return with a note to the ATO saying “God told me I didn’t need to pay tax, kthxbye” then be advised: don’t. It won’t work.

That lesson was just learned by Christian missionaries Fanny Alida Beerepoot and Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot who have been ordered by the Tasmanian supreme court to pay a bit under $2.3 million in back taxes and other charges.

Yes. Yes it does.

The couple had stopped paying income tax in 2011, including council rates (which had led to their property being seized by the Meander Valley Council in 2017 over a $3000 debt), but this case was over unpaid income tax from that year, which came to just shy of a million dollars apiece.

And the first thought you might have is “hold on a second, how does one get into the Missionarying game? Because that’s… look, that’s a heck of a tax bill, is what we’re saying.

Anyway: Despite explaining that they’d written to the PM and the Queen explaining that the very idea of tax was invalid and that “Transferring our allegiance from God to the Commonwealth would mean rebelling against God and therefore breaking the first commandment,” Associate Justice Stephen Holt pointed out that there’s no clear basis for the argument since God doesn’t say anything helpful like “Hey, don’t pay tax” anywhere in the Bible.

Official legal advice.

“I believe the submissions to be honestly and genuinely held beliefs rather than an attempt to avoid tax liabilities,” he explained in his judgement, “but in my view, the Bible effectively said that civil matters and the law of God operate in two different spheres.”

And he has a point because, if anything, Jesus specifically said people should pay tax and in oft-quoted line that accompanies a broader acknowledgement of the authority of secular government.

It’s in Mark 12:17, involving a discussion about whether or not it was right to pay the Roman poll tax, at which point Jesuis picks up a coin with Caesar’s face on it and asks who it is.

When the correct answer is provided, according to the English Standard Version of the Bible, he answers:

Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

And this might seem awfully convenient, almost as though the Bible’s many, many different authors and editors and translators over centuries might have been pushed by authorities of the time to include or omit specific things that just so happened to support their own interests, but hey: we have to go by what’s in the book.

Mind you, that quote was also foreshadowing the narrative twist where – spoilers! – the Romans crucify Jesus, thereby keeping his body (which, as a prisoner, belonged to the state) and liberating his spiritual essence which was that of God.

Either way, it’s a bad excuse for not paying tax. Maybe say your dog ate it?

Treasury Reckons If You Want A Pay Rise You Should Quit More Often

We get it, government: the economy's all our fault.

Hey, had a pay rise recently? Would you like one? Then why haven’t you quit your job, huh?

That’s the gist of the argument being made today in the wake of a lecture by one of the nation’s chief economic stewards, and it’s a doozy.

“More frequent job switching is associated with higher real wage growth, even for those that stay in their job,” explained Federal Treasury deputy secretary Meghan Quinn at the Economic Society of Australia’s annual conference.

And this has been spun as “stubborn workers” refusing to give up their jobs as being a bad thing. And you might think that’s a long bow to draw, that workers are to blame for the thing workers have been complaining about for years.

And here’s the thing: Treasury isn’t even wrong. However, the argument is being spun by deliberately fudging a symptom and suggesting it’s a cause.

The Treasury, today.

If you’re in a thriving economy with strong employment and robust wage growth, you’re far more likely to feel secure about changing jobs since there are many opportunities to be seen.

If, however, you’ve seen wages flatline for the best part of a decade while the cost of living continues to rise, with an economy showing signs of a potential recession down the road and purported employment rises being in insecure work rather than permanent fulltime jobs, you’re more likely to hang on to what you’ve got than risk the unknown.

In other words, job switching is a sign that the economy is flourishing, not a cause of a flourishing economy.

And look, a cynic might wonder why the Treasury would be so keen to suggest that the current state of the economy was because of those struggling in it rather than, say, the government department specifically tasked with overseeing it.

Mind you, it’s just barely more plausible than the curse of an evil warlock. Maybe they’re saving that for the Mid Year Budget Review?

“Mmmwahahahahahaha! A slowing economy has forced us to revise our forecasts! BOW BEFORE THE ECONOMATOR, FOOLS!”

How To Make Grilled Cheese With A Hairdryer, And Other Genius Uni Meals

Who's feeling peckish?

Being at uni is rarely a period spent enjoying great wealth and/or devotion to healthy eating. To this day I can’t look at a packet of two minute noodles without assuming I’ve got a paper due.

And these fathers have each developed ingenious food hacks to save money and stave off the spectre of death by eating things which technically have the potential to sustain life.

And in this video, they teach these mistakes to their kids for the amusement of HiHo Kids’ viewing audience.

The idea of teaching kids their terrible college tricks is, perhaps, questionable parenting – but let’s be clear, that Kit Kat sandwich is a work of terrible, desperate genius.

Conversely, melting cheese with a hairdryer is absolutely disgusting for so very many reasons, but it’s the perfect hack for when society collapses. And, um, you have a battery operated hairdryer and no dignity.

Prepare accordingly.

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