Tag Archives: Charitable organization

Australians concerned about tax exemption for cults

Most people are aware of the scandals surrounding the Church of Scientology. These have been covered several times on New Zealand television.

How many, though, are aware that the Scientology is registered as a charity in New Zealand? This means that are tax exempt and people making donations to them, or tithing to them, can claim tax refunds. It also means that, through our taxes, we subsidise the activity of the Church of Scientology.

What charitable work do they do? You may well ask. They are registered under the advancement of religion sector. In their  application for charitable status they list their main sector of charitable activity as “religious activities” and their main activity as providing “religious services and/or activities.”

Our tax legislation defines such activity as charitable for tax purposes. It also provides religious exemption from local body rates.

A lot of New Zealanders would probably be unhappy about this – if they knew! And this charitable status is also available to other religious cults which cause family disruptions and have been exposed as condoning child sexual abuse.

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Secular charity

Anyone currently attached to social networking sites and applications will be aware of the huge groundswell of concern for the people of Haiti. Many people are searching for suitable agencies to channel their donations.

In my accompanying post No gods required, i referred to the need for secular aid agencies to be more easily identified. Many of us are concerned that aid money not be diverted into religious proselytizing.

people interested in secular charity will find this video interesting. it describes the formation of a new secular charity organisation – Foundation Beyond Belief.

The style of donations is also interesting. People make regular commitments with instructions on the amounts which should go to specific areas or charities. As the NZ government recently made possible the regular donation of wage earners to charity by automatic payments from salary by employers, this modern form of giving could become popular.

New Zealand is catching up with atheist bus advertisements. I look forward to us catching up with this form of secular charity.

YouTube – Foundation Beyond Belief.

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