Court rules against Blackmore’s tax appeal

Bountiful leader ordered to pay penalties of almost $150,000

  • Aug. 29, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — The leader of a B.C. community that practices polygamy has lost an appeal in federal Tax Court, which has ordered him to pay penalties of nearly $150,000.

Winston Blackmore appealed a tax assessment that concluded he understated his income by $1.8 million dollars over a period of six years.

He argued that an obscure section of tax law originally designed to allow Hutterite colonies to effectively divvy up income among members for tax purposes should apply to his community, which practices a fundamentalist form of Mormonism that allows polygamy.

But Judge Diane Campbell has ruled that Bountiful does not meet any of the criteria required for such status, such as a prohibition on members owning property and a requirement that members live and work in the community.

Campbell has ordered Blackmore’s income be re-assessed to include the additional $1.8 million, and she has also imposed penalties of nearly $150,000 for “gross negligence.”

Bountiful has been the target of numerous investigations over the years, including a polygamy prosecution that fell apart in 2009, and a special prosecutor is once again considering possible criminal charges.