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A person is a 'person', B.C. judge rules
Published Friday, June 18, 2010 5:33PM PDT
An Okanagan Valley man's argument that he shouldn't have to pay taxes because he isn't a "person" was rejected by a B.C. Supreme Court judge on Thursday.
David Kevin Lindsay, who also goes by the name David-Kevin: Lindsay, had appealed his 2008 conviction and sentencing on five counts of failing to file income tax returns. He argued the appeal on the grounds that he is not a "person" as defined by the Income Tax Act.
According to Thursday's ruling from Judge Frits Verhoeven, Lindsay filed a notice with the minister of national revenue in 2002 denying that he is a "person," and explaining that he ceased to be a "person" in 1996.
Instead, Lindsay argued that he is, "David-Kevin: Lindsay, a full liability free will flesh and blood living man."
In his judgment, Verhoeven rejected the idea that a Canadian citizen can simply opt out of personhood.
"The ordinary sense of the word ‘person' in the (Income Tax Act) is without ambiguity. It is clear that Parliament intended the word in its broadest sense," the judge wrote.
"If other Canadians followed Mr. Lindsay's example, the collection of income taxes would become all but impossible."
Verhoeven upheld Lindsay's conviction, as well as his sentence of a $5,000 fine, but reduced his jail time to 30 days from the original 150.
‘There is no law that says you have to be a person'
Lindsay told ctvbc.ca that he has not filed an income tax return since 1996, and doesn't plan to ever file one again.
"I'm not a person under the Income Tax Act. I have no duties under the act," he said.
"There is no law that says you have to be a person under the Income Tax Act. There is no law that creates an offence for refusing to be a person, and there is no punishment created for refusing to be a person."
He pointed out that women and First Nations people were at one time not considered to be people under Canadian law.
"All of these people were men or women. Clearly the word ‘person' does not mean man or woman," Lindsay said.
He plans to seek leave to file an appeal on Verhoeven's decision.
Lindsay has an extensive history arguing on his own behalf in B.C. courtrooms, variously appealing traffic convictions, arguing that he should not have to pay taxes and petitioning a judge to take the witness stand in a trial over which that same judge was presiding.
"I have been in court over 300 times. I have been in every court in this country except the Supreme Court of Canada," Lindsay said.
In 2006, he was designated a "vexatious litigant," which means that he has to seek the court's leave before commencing legal proceedings in any court in B.C.
That designation was upheld on appeal by Lindsay.