Friday, February 08, 2008

IRS v. Scientology

I can't tell exactly whats going on here so I might be WAY off the mark. It sounds like the federal government initially said Scientology wasn't a "real" religion, so Scientology sued and was specifically named as being tax exempt. Now other people are claiming that Scientology is benefiting unfairly.

I don't know exactly what going on but heres the deal. The government cannot favor anyone religion, thats the establishment clause. Personally I'm not sure why religions are tax free but thats a different debate. The question is does this law favor scientology or simply put it on the same standards as the others? If its just putting them in the same category as the other cults, er religions then why should it even be named? If its putting them in a different category then other religions wither for better or worse then its illegal. I'm no judge but that seems simple, now the only question is if this puts scientology into a different tax group than other religions, for that you'll need someone who knows what they're talking about.

UPDATE: Commenter clears things up, Thanks!


Afraid of Scientologists said...

This has nothing to do with whether Scientology is a "real" religion. It has to do with the tax deductibility of funds given to a church (or any non-profit) in return for goods and services. In kind donations are not tax deductible because they aren't a "donation," they are a purchase. That applies to school tuition as well.

The Scientiolgists make members pay huge,huge money for classes and "auditing" (where members attached to lie detectors confess to secrets, all of which are recorded and filed away by the church). They wanted to make payments for these classes deductible even though they don't meet the rules for deductibility. They sued and got a secret settlement with the IRS that allows only Scientologists to deduct fees for training. Other religions, understandably, want the same deal but the IRS refuses to grant it. The Judges are suggesting that such favoritism just might be a little on the illegal side.

Kilgore Trout said...


That clears things up, sounds like everyone is not on an even field and therefore illegal, in my opinion. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

PhillyChief said...

This is quite a confusing issue. Auditing by scientologists is essentially a paid for service, regardless of whether it's part of their religious practices or not. If they get a tax deduction for that, I don't think that's right. It's not a donation. I think the objection other religions would have is that they no one ever thought to include such a fleecing as a tenet.

Fleecing built in. Brilliant!

Kilgore Trout said...

So it would be like if the Catholics charged for confessions then claimed it was a donation? Is that about right?