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Bountiful polygamous leader decides to appeal tax decision

Winston Blackmore . . . appeals decision

Winston Blackmore, the leader of the polygamous community near Creston, has decided to appeal a court decision that he did not fully report his income by $1.8 Million.

Documents filed in the Federal Court of Appeal by the Blackmore camp said the judge during the trial didn’t properly interpret a section of the income Tax Act that relates to filing taxes as a congregation.

During the case Blackmore argued the polygamous group located in Bountiful should be able to use the same tax law that other special religious groups use and be able to spread earnings among members for tax purposes.

But ruling Judge Diane Campbell said in August that Blackmore’s community in Bountiful didn’t meet any of the criteria for such a tax break.

Judge Campbell rejected the portion recognizing his leadership, constitutes a communal religious organization eligible for tax exemption and ruled that Blackmore underreported his income by some $1.8 million during a five-year period starting in 2000, a time when his declared annual income rarely exceeded $30,000.

The notice of appeal says the judge failed to interpret Blackmore’s claim in connection with his rights under the Canadian charter.

Blackmore, who told the court he had 21 wives and 47 children, not only will have to pay taxes on the higher amount, but faces a penalty of almost $150,000 for hiding his income.