Some misguided Red Deerians are finding novel excuses on the internet to avoid paying their City of Red Deer property taxes.
About six local property owners have so far this year claimed to the city’s taxation department that a “royal degree” by a self-proclaimed “Queen of Canada” exempts them from their tax obligations.
City solicitor Michelle Baer said, “There’s a real risk that the people who are advancing this theory could lose their homes” if their property taxes as not paid.
“If they think they’ve found a loophole, it’s not accurate. This is not going to give them the result they want because what they believe has no basis in law.”
These kind of strategies have already been debunked by the courts in the 2012 case Meads Vs. Meads, added Baer. She noted judges are are losing patience with conspiracy-based tax avoidance theories, and are throwing them out of court, saying they are a waste of time and “frustrate the system.”
The so-called Queen of Canada is a B.C. resident named Romana Didulo, who is considered a “conspiracy influencer.” She’s part of the sovereign citizen movement that can now be found in at least 26 countries.
Didulo travels the country in her RV, espousing Q-Anon and anti-vaccine conspiracies, alien beliefs, and pseudo-legal dogma based on the notion that citizens are free to set their own rules because they never agreed to the ones that underpin society.
Didulo also claims she is not from this planet and has supernatural abilities.
She has some 66,000 followers — some of them have already revealed through social media their electricity was shut off and they lost their homes because Didulo “decreed” all utilities are free, taxes are optional, and debts are wiped clean.
Baer stressed that paying property taxes is the law, regardless of whether people object to paying them or hold anti-government views.
Taxes collected by the city annually help support municipal infrastructure that Red Deerians rely on daily, including roads, parks, the water treatment and the waste water systems, recreation facilities, transit buses, the library and other services.
Baer added serious repercussions will unfold if 2022 property taxes are not paid — starting with financial penalties for missing the payment deadline. If taxes continue be unpaid, the city will initiate a recovery process that can end with the forced sale of these properties at auction to satisfy tax debts.
She urged anyone who attempts these tax avoidance “loopholes” to rethink their decision and review the Meads vs Meads decision online from the Canadian Legal Information Institute.