IRS

After decades of arguing that Scientology did not qualify for tax-exempt status, the US tax agency reversed itself in a secret settlement. What caused the complete reversal?

IRS in the News

Datesort icon Title Blurb Tags
November 21, 1993 Exempted, Not Vindicated David Miscavige, chairman of the board for Scientology's "Religious Technology Center," said recently that the IRS decision to grant his corporate empire a tax exemption was "a major victory for us." He added: "We were under siege. ... Now we've been vindicated." His smugness aside, the business of Scientology, which is to sell vulnerable people counseling services at rates up to $800 an hour, was not vindicated by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. It was merely exempted from taxation. David Miscavige, IRS, Press, Scientology and Society
November 7, 1993 Ex-Scientologists Question IRS Ruling The recent federal government decision giving the Church of Scientology tax-exempt status has the group exulting that its 40-year struggle for official respectability has at last been won. But several former members interviewed since the decision last month say they are perplexed by the decision, and that the government should not have accorded the church its new status. former members, IRS, Press, United States
October 21, 1993 Scientology Sells... And Profits -- IRS Files Shed Light On Church's Finances It pays to pitch Scientology, according to earnings reports the church has filed with the Internal Revenue Service. One man averaged almost $200,000 a year in commissions from the fees of new members he had solicited to become Scientologists. The church gives its proselytizers 10 to 15 percent of what newcomers "donate" for church services. IRS, Press, Scientology and Society
October 21, 1993 Clearwater to Keep Battling Scientology The city is still fighting the Church of Scientology. Despite a strongly worded recent court decision in favor of Scientology, city commissioners have decided to continue the decade-long legal battle over a rule that would let the city police the organization's financial records. Commissioner Fred Thomas said he was annoyed by the scores of letters sent by Scientologists to lobby him before the Tuesday meeting. He called one letter "threatening" and said it amounted to a "declaration of war" against the city. IRS, Press, Scientology and Society
October 14, 1993 Scientologists Granted Tax Exemption by the U.S. The Government said today that it had agreed to grant a tax exemption to the Church of Scientology and more than 150 of its related corporations, ending one of the longest-running tax disputes in American history. Officials at the Internal Revenue Service and the Scientology group declined to spell out the details of the settlement and would not explain why it had finally been reached after four decades of costly and bitter court fights. For decades, the Government has said that although Scientology can be considered a religion, its affiliated organizations had operated as businesses for the financial gain of the church's leaders, most notably L. Ron Hubbard. IRS, Press
December 14, 1991 Your Taxes: A Court Decision For Scientologist A Federal appeals court has legitimized a challenge to deductions for certain charitable contributions by a Scientologist, who contended that he had been a victim of discrimination. At issue is the deductibilty of contributions to religious organizations when the church or synagogue provides something in return. George H. Powell's victory means that the matter must now be reconsidered in court, and the I.R.S. and others are forced to take a fresh look at Scientology's contention that mainstream religious organizations also provide a quid pro quo for participation in religious services. IRS
October 3, 1991 Church Of Scientology Sues IRS In Greensboro Greensboro News & Record : Church Of Scientology Sues IRS In Greensboro IRS
August 13, 1991 Scientologists File IRS Suit Greensboro News & Record : Scientologists File IRS Suit IRS
August 13, 1991 The Church of Scientology filed a $120-million federal lawsuit against 17 IRS officials Los Angeles Times: The Church of Scientology filed a $120-million federal lawsuit against 17 IRS officials IRS
July 30, 1991 IRS Gets Credit For Cleaner Act House Subcommittee Finds Ethics Improving (brief mention of Scientology) IRS

IRS in the News

Date Title Blurb Tags
December 31, 1997 IRS, leaked. Church, leak. Scientologists, Internet, alt.religion.of, involved The IRS announces that it is to hold an internal inquiry into how the agreement was leaked. The Church of Scientology denounces the leak. Scientologists accuse unnamed participants in the Internet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology of being involved. IRS
December 30, 1997 IRS, Wall Street Journal, Web, front-page story. Newspapers, United States, story The secret IRS agreement is leaked to the Wall Street Journal, which promptly puts it on its Web site and leads with a front-page story. Newspapers across the United States report the story. IRS
March 21, 1996 Tax Analysts, March 15 Tax Analysts issues a press release announcing the March 15 decision that hundreds of "field service advice" memos used by IRS agents be released to Tax Analysts under a Freedom of Information Act request. IRS
September 24, 1984 loses, IRS, 1970-72. Tax Court, L. Ron Hubbard, question. IRS -, instance, tax-related material, IRS, US tax-payers' money Scientology loses its appeal over the IRS tax assessment for the years 1970-72. The Tax Court judge documents in detail how huge sums were moved out of Scientology accounts into those of L. Ron Hubbard during the period in question. The judgement also describes the obstructionist tactics used by Scientology to thwart the IRS - for instance, deliberately jumbling two million pages of tax-related material, so that IRS officials would have to sort it out at the cost of a great deal of time and US tax-payers' money. IRS, L. Ron Hubbard
August 20, 1984 Lt. Ray Emmons, Clearwater Police Department, IRS Criminal Investigator Al Ristuccia Lt. Ray Emmons of the Clearwater Police Department sends documents and information about Scientology to IRS Criminal Investigator Al Ristuccia. IRS
August 15, 1984 Lt. Ray Emmons, Clearwater Police Department, IRS Criminal Investigator Al Ristuccia. Emmons, inducements. IRS, Emmons' document Lt. Ray Emmons of the Clearwater Police Department meets with IRS Criminal Investigator Al Ristuccia. Emmons outlines Scientology practices as they relate to fraudulent inurement and fraudulent inducements. The IRS investigator receives copies of some of Emmons' documents. IRS
December 20, 1976 Richard Weigand, CSW (Completed Staff Work), Henning Heldt, Project Troy, possible. (Project Troy, IRS Chief Counsel.) Heldt, Pr Richard Weigand sends a CSW (Completed Staff Work) to Henning Heldt asking that Project Troy be approved as soon as possible. (Project Troy calls for the placement of a permanent bugging device in the office or the IRS Chief Counsel.) Heldt will approve Project Troy. IRS
November 18, 1975 Michael Meisner, Cindy Meisner Michael Meisner sends a memo to Cindy Meisner entitled "Re: DEA FOI Case -- D of J Data -- Figley". It summarized documents stolen from the office of IRS employee Paul Figley, who was working on Freedom of Information Act requests relating to Scientology. The stolen documents were attached to Meisner's memo. IRS, Michael Meisner
November 17, 1975 Michael Meisner, Cindy Meisner Michael Meisner sends a memo to Cindy Meisner entitled "Re: Justice Department, FOI Suits -- Figley". It summarized documents stolen from the office of IRS employee Paul Figley, who was working on Freedom of Information Act requests relating to Scientology. The stolen documents were attached to Meisner's memo. IRS, Michael Meisner
June 11, 1975 GO, IRS, Church, California. Accordingly, GO, IRS' The GO gets wind of a major financial audit to be made by the IRS of the Church of Scientology of California. Accordingly, the GO decides to obtain as much inside information as possible on the IRS' "line of attack". Michael Meisner devises "Project Beetle Cleanup" for obtaining "all DC IRS files on LRH, Scientology, etc., in the Intelligence section, OIO [Office or International Operations], and SSS [Special Services Staff]". The project proposes the placement of "FSMs" (Field Staff members, or agents) in the "required areas or good access developed", and further that "Pitts" (the code name for Nancy Douglass - a GO agent who had infiltrated the Drug Enforcement Agency) and "Silver" (Wolfe) attempt to obtain employment at the Internal Revenue Service Intelligence Division and Office of International Operations respectively. IRS, Michael Meisner