Pastor refuses to pay $1M in taxes

Oregon-tax-newsCoquille couple face charges of tax evasion
By Oregon Tax News,

Coquille couple Ronald and Dorothea Joling are facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and tax evasion. The couple owes $1.1 million in back taxes, interest, and penalties dating back to 1994. The couple are on trial at the US District Court in Eugene. If found guilty, they could both be sent to prison.

Ronald Joling became the pastor of the Coquille Hope Covenant Reformed Church in 1988. His attorney says Joling is neither crazy nor a criminal but was deeply influenced by his conservative Christian beliefs and by the sovereign citizen movement. Under these influences, Joling came to believe that the federal government represents evil and the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (Section 1, Clause 1), which is the basis for requiring the payment of federal income tax, is invalid. In 1997 the Jolings declared that they weren’t citizens of the US and the property they owned in Oregon wasn’t part of the US. Therefore, they argued, they didn’t have to pay taxes.

Dorothea Joling’s attorney says that Dorothea isn’t a criminal but was merely submitting to her husband’s leadership in the home according to her conservative Christian beliefs. The couple has been married for 51 years.

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