Donations to church of Scientology now tax deductible
The Tax Authority recognized the Church of Scientology Amsterdam as a public benefit institution (ANBI), the church said in a press release. An ANBI enjoys certain tax benefits. For example, it doesn’t have to pay taxes on gifts and donations. Donations to an ANBI are also tax deductible.
The Church of Scientology applied for ANBI status in 2021. The Tax Authority granted the status after a thorough investigation into, among other things, the church’s financial administration and activities. In the Netherlands, about 45,000 organizations are registered as ANBI. This concerns things like charities, cultural institutions, churches, and other religious institutions.
According to the Tax Authority's website, an institution can only be an ANBI if it is almost entirely committed to the public interest. Other conditions include that it can not have a profit motive and that the institution and people directly involved must meet certain integrity requirements.
Scientology is somewhat controversial, with critics calling it a dangerous sect. The church denies that. American science fiction writer Ron Hubbard founded the religious organization in 1945. It claims to strive for a world free of war, crime, and madness. In the United States, where the organization is considered a religion, Scientology has a large following in Hollywood. Today, Scientology claims to be active in over 190 countries and territories.
The Dutch branch of Scientology has a large headquarters on Wibaustraat in Amsterdam. In 2016, a reporter from the TV show Ramban infiltrated the church. She reported that members tried to convince her of all kinds of non-existent problems and that she had to confide her traumatic experiences to an 11-year-old child during a psychological session.
Reporting by ANP