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Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 2, Interesting) 699

by Ralph Wiggam (#49481109) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Those are the general guidelines. They don't really mean anything. As you note, the meaning of "religious organization" is unworkably vague. So are the meanings of "charitable" and "educational" groups.

Here's the IRS form you fill out to become tax exempt-

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1023.pdf

The important parts are the questions like "Does your organization attempt to influence legislation", and the details of your finances. If you answer those correctly, they don't really care if you're a church, or a cult, or just a group of people who don't like wearing pants.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 2, Informative) 699

by Ralph Wiggam (#49480113) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Churches are tax exempt because they're churches. If they satisfy the requirements of a tax exempt non-profit or charity, that's great. If not, pay your taxes.

That makes no sense. The 501(c)3 tax code doesn't mention churches or religion at all. So, no, churches are in no way tax exempt because they're churches. They're tax exempt because they meet the requirements of 501(c)3- just like the Sierra Club and the Humane Society.

There is absolutely no constitutional way to make churches pay taxes without also requiring the Sierra Club to pay taxes. The only way to make Scientology lose their tax exempt status is to show that they violate the existing rules.

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