01/24/2017 01:07 EST | Updated 01/24/2017 03:47 EST

Alberta 'Tax Protesters' Fined Nearly $500,000 For Income Tax Evasion

The couple belonged to a group that counselled them to avoid taxes.

An Alberta couple have been fined nearly half a million dollars after they admitted to tax evasion.

Robert Dale Steinkey, 60, and his wife Terry Lynn Steinkey, 63, from Grande Prairie, said they believed taxes are a form of slavery, according to CBC News.

The "tax protesters" pleaded guilty in December 2015 to evading $486,000 in federal income tax in 2007 and 2008. Along with the fine, they’ll have to pay the full amount of tax they owe — which is the same amount.

The Canada Revenue Agency warns Canadians to beware of people who try to convince you that you don't have to pay income tax. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Robert and Terry were fined around $322,000 and more than $164,000, respectively, according to the Edmonton Sun. They also received conditional jail sentences of 22 and 18 months.

Evidence provided by the Canada Revenue Agency showed that the couple belonged to the Paradigm Education Group, an organization that showed people how to structure their affairs to avoid paying taxes, according to the Sun.

Paradigm taught its followers that if they declared themselves “natural persons,” that they don’t have to pay, according to My Grande Prairie Now.

Its founder, Russell Porisky, was sentenced in July 2016 to five-and-a-half years in jail, less credit for time served after a previous conviction, for one count of counselling others to evade taxes and two counts of doing it himself, according to a CRA press release.

He was also fined nearly $260,000.

As of last summer, 31 people had been convicted and fined for tax evasion connected to their involvement with Paradigm.

The agency warned in the press release to be wary of people who try to convince you that you don't have pay income tax.

"These individuals, also known as tax protesters, not only fail to report their own earnings, but they also conspire, counsel, and promote these tax schemes."

"Canadian courts have consistently rejected arguments made in these tax protester schemes."