Russell Porisky of Chilliwack, British Columbia – known to the media as an “anti-tax crusader” – has been fined $259,482 by the B.C. Supreme Court and sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison, according to the Canada Revenue Agency. He was officially convicted of “two counts of tax evasion and one count of counseling others to evade taxes.” Elaine Gould, his common-law spouse, was also fined $38,241 and sentenced to one day in jail for one count of tax evasion; she had previously received six months’ credit for time already served.
Porisky and Gould were first tried and found guilty on tax charges in 2012, but the couple appealed and argued for a trial by jury rather than stand against just one judge. A new trial was ordered by the B.C. Court of Appeal in 2014, leading to their recent convictions.
According to the CRA, the couple evaded a total of $231,574 in federal income taxes and failed to report income amounting to $1.4 million between 2004 and 2007. Porisky also failed to collect and remit over $66,000 in goods and services tax (GST) between 2004 and 2008.
What makes this conviction interesting is not tax-evasion itself, but Porisky’s counselling of other people to do the same based on his “natural person” theory. He claimed, and taught to others, that the Canadian government’s legal definition of a person – one who owns property, pays taxes, receives benefits, and votes – is “artificial,” and that a person could avoid paying his/her taxes by declaring to be a “natural person” who is not bound by the government’s allegedly-artificial categorization. Porisky taught his theory in paid seminars through Paradigm Education Group, allegedly to more than 800 people. While he indeed practiced what he preached, he now has 5 ½ years to ponder his theory’s errant application to the real world, for the only two constants in the world are death and taxes.