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Scientology Crime Syndicate

Revenue Court:
Scientology is purely a commercial operation

Muenster, Germany
June 6, 2000
http://www.westfaelische-rundschau.de
Westfaelische Rundschau

by Klaus Brandt

Muenster. The so-called "Scientology Church is not a religious denomination and, in regards to taxes, may be treated like a commercial enterprise.

Income from seminar fees, sale of printed material and of the "electrometer," a type of lie detectors, are subject to sales tax. This legal opinion of the revenue court in Muenster can now be applied in practice in a real case.

A Scientology group from Westfalen-Lippe, to the surprise of the revenue court, recently withdrew from renewed legal proceedings against a tax sales decision. As a result, the tax decision, initiated by the revenue agency, becomes legally effective.

Scientology has been vehemently protesting its classification as a commercial enterprise for years. In the first trial before the revenue court in Muenster, the organization - categorized as a dangerous psycho-sect by its critics - argued that the decision was a violation of constitutional basic law of self-administration of churches. Scientology demands the charitable status like recognized religious denominations have.

In a decision of May 25, 1994, the Revenue Court dismissed the suit (Az.: 15 K 5247/87). Scientology was said not to be a religion, but was "regularly and deliberately commercially engaged" as a business, said the basis of the decision. Scientology filed an appeal in the Federal Revenue Court on account of a mistake made on a form to the revenue court in Muenster. Yesterday, the obligation to pay sales tax to was be heard again in court. One day before the court date, Scientology withdrew its suit.

According to an announcement by a court spokesman, the tax decision has become legally enforceable as a result. The Revenue Agency will now react to the result of the proceedings and treat the Scientology as a commercial enterprise with regards to tax. That means the Scientology organization is legally obligated to submit tax statements, to reveal their income and to keep official accounts books.

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