Scientology and Tax Exemptions - 2015-05-26
Gibney advances a very different position from the typical argument that Scientology's tax-exempt status should be revoked on the grounds that it is not a real religion. In a recent op-ed, Gibney argues that even if the Church is a religion, it is using its status to hide behind the First Amendment while committing human rights abuses and possibly criminal activity. As Gibney writes, even recognized religions "may not 'serve the private interests of any individual' and/or 'the organization's purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.'"
Gibney and others have noted that the leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, and other notable celebrity members have used Church assets for personal gain and exploited low-wage labor. The use of Church assets for private gain is strictly prohibited by the IRS for tax-exempt status, and these accusations alone merit another look and IRS investigation in light of the growing number of complaints by ex-members that Gibney interviewed.