The B.C. Court of Appeal has dismissed the conviction appeal of a notorious tax cheat who taught a nonsensical scheme encouraging hundreds of people to evade millions of dollars in taxes.
Russell Porisky’s appeal was rejected at a hearing in Vancouver on April 30.
In 2016, the Chilliwack man was sentenced to four years behind bars and handed fines of just under $260,000 for teaching the debunked “natural person” theory. His partner, Elaine Gould, was sentenced to one day in jail and fined $38,242.
When he was first convicted in 2012, court heard Porisky and Gould’s fraudulent counselling to more than 800 students resulted in an estimated $11 million in income tax evasion.
The “natural person” argument behind Porisky’s scheme has been rejected repeatedly by the courts. The idea taught is that income tax is optional as part of a contract with the government.
In YouTube videos still posted online, he claims “income tax is nothing more than an internal federal excise tax which is only mandatory for those who choose to work as a legal representative, under an implied contract of service, for the benefit of a federally created legal (artificial) person known as a ‘taxpayer.’”
His problem, along with that of his acolytes, is that he is simply wrong.
One of those followers, a woman integral to Porisky’s school, Debbie Anderson, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and fined $35,000 in 2018.
Anderson has denied guilt and never admitted the harm she caused by not paying taxes, claiming the whole case against her was a fraud.
She is now wanted by authorities, as she filed to appeal her conviction but did not show up for a hearing on April 17.
Her conviction stands and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
As for Porisky, he and Gould’s case has gone on for many years. They had appealed their 2012 conviction, arguing the trial judge erred in his handling of a decision by them to re-elect to be tried by judge alone. In April 2014, the B.C. Court of Appeal quashed the convictions and ordered a new trial. That is the trial that ended in the conviction by a B.C. Supreme Court jury in 2016.
Porisky was found to have failed to pay $274,000 in income taxes and GST, while Gould was $27,000 in arrears.