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Calls Grow To Investigate Church Of Scientology’s Charity Status in Australia

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Calls Grow To Investigate Church Of Scientology’s Charity Status in Australia

There are growing calls for Australia's charity regulator to investigate the Church of Scientology.

According to The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, the controversial religion has been accused of moving tens of millions of dollars into Australia.

The newspapers allege Scientology has transferred the money Down Under to take advantage of the country's not-for-profit status and avoid paying tax.

As a result of the allegations, politicians want a thorough investigation to determine whether authorities should review the religion's status.

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Greens treasury spokesman Nick McKim said: "There is a very clear case for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to review Scientology's charity status.

"They should investigate whether Australia is being used as a tax haven for the organisation's international revenue."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Labor's shadow assistant minister for charities, Andrew Leigh, wants a 'please explain' from the religion so that there aren't any question marks about its finances.

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"It would be in the interest of the Church of Scientology to provide more information about how the broader Australian community benefits from their tax deductible status," he said.

"Many who have seen the documentary Going Clear will have concerns that Scientology operates quite differently from other religions."

ACNC says charities are allowed to make a profit under Australian law, even if they're labeled 'not-for-profit', as long as they use that money for charitable purposes.

The Church of Scientology's assets reportedly jumped from a little more than $60 million in 2013 to a whopping $172.4 million in 2019.

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It made a net profit of $65.4 million between those seven years as well, which is interesting considering the number of Scientologists in Australia have allegedly fallen during that same period.

When asked by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, the Church of Scientology denied the allegation that it was operating nefariously.

Scientology's International spokeswoman Karin Pouw said: "There is no accumulation of 'profits' as you suggest. All of the church's funds are dedicated to furthering its religious and charitable mission."

She refused to comment on the claim the number of followers had decreased and insisted the religion is 'in the midst of an explosive expansion in Australia, ongoing since 2007'.

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There have been new facilities erected in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth to keep up with this alleged 'expansion'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: religion, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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