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60 Minutes Australia: "Cooking the Book of Mormon"


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10 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

In case it helps, here's my earlier post on this exact point:

As well as an earlier post regarding impacts on revenue:

Also, I just a did Google news search by date using 'Australia', 'Mormon', and 'tithing'. Literally nothing shows up in Australia after the weekend of the 60 Minutes broadcast. Mssrs Southerton and Rochow's 'PR disaster' is happeing only in their only fevered imaginations.

10 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

In case it helps, here's my earlier post on this exact point:

As well as an earlier post regarding impacts on revenue:

Also, I just a did Google news search by date using 'Australia', 'Mormon', and 'tithing'. Literally nothing shows up in Australia after the weekend of the 60 Minutes broadcast. Mssrs Southerton and Rochow's 'PR disaster' is happening only in their only fevered imaginations.

If you feel that the Australian 60 Minutes story, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age stories were public relation successes and furthered church goals of improving the churches image in Australia, so be it.  I did not get that from these stories, I saw them as PR disasters and an embarrassment to the church.

I do not fault the church for doing every legal thing they can to  avoid paying taxes and in making Australian tithing tax deductible for members.  And that may very well be what has happened in this case but the stories do not suggest that that is what took place.

And as I stated in my earlier post, perhaps everything is legal and above board.  I guess if the church has taken advantage of a previous unknown loop hole, good for them it will then be up to the Australian Government to either allow other religious organizations to take full advantage of the loop hole or place additional restrictions in the tax law.  Perhaps the church has done the Australian Government a favor by exposing this loop hole (if it is determined to be such).

I choose not to post anonymously, anyone who wants can google my name and find whatever is out there on the internet on me. To my knowledge I am the ONLY "Craig Speechly" in the world, although I am aware of a Craig Speechley that lives in Australia. By disclosing my longstanding friendship with both Simon and Neville, I did so to be transparent with this board.  I also have longstanding friendships with dozens of active members in Australia as well, whom I also met and visited with while in Oz during this visit.  In this group of friends are current temple presidency members, mission presidency members, stake leaders, bishops and women auxiliary leaders as well as the foundational members of the church in Australia, those that just attend because they love the church.   I posted earlier( in another thread) of my meeting with a gentleman who joined the church 49 years a go due to my having given him a Book of Mormon during a street meeting, he found me this past summer through Facebook.  I am not an enemy of the church nor do I fall into one of the all bad or all good, black or white camps.  There is a lot of nuance in my world and I love people for the good I see in them.  

 

Edited by Craig Speechly
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3 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

If you feel that the Australian 60 Minutes story, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age stories were public relation successes and furthered church goals of improving the churches image in Australia, so be it.

Just because something is not a success doesn't make it a disaster. Beyond the few people invested none of these have gone anywhere. I haven't been asked by any of my non-member friends who know I'm a member about them. Chances are they didn't even see them.

3 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

I guess if the church has taken advantage of a previous unknown loop hole, good for them it will then be up to the Australian Government to either allow other religious organizations to take full advantage of the loop hole or place additional restrictions in the tax law. 

There are financial reports going back to 2014 publicly visible on the charity regulator website.

As has been said previously in this thread, the tithing (for a period) only received a 75% deduction, then was able to be 100% again. The government must be aware of what the church planned to do, because the charity regular had to endorse them for 100% deductibility.

They've had plenty of time to find and close any loophole if that's what people want to call this.

I see it as essentially having one organisation to collect the donations and one one use them.

 

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1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

Just because something is not a success doesn't make it a disaster. Beyond the few people invested none of these have gone anywhere. I haven't been asked by any of my non-member friends who know I'm a member about them. Chances are they didn't even see them.

Not everyone reads the paper or watches TV...and I'm sure those that don't were not affected by these stories

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

There are financial reports going back to 2014 publicly visible on the charity regulator website.

As has been said previously in this thread, the tithing (for a period) only received a 75% deduction, then was able to be 100% again. The government must be aware of what the church planned to do, because the charity regular had to endorse them for 100% deductibility.

We're finally at a place were we can find agreement.  At some point the law was changed, 2012 or as late as 2015 (sorry I don't have the exact date) allowing full 100% deductibility IF the church can show that the funds are made to a humanitarian charity rather then going to salaries, maintenance or building.  Since the change in this law the church has declared in its official annual Australian Charity declarations that Australian funds donated go 100% to this charity.  This declaration then makes your tithing 100% deductible.

I guess from a legal standpoint if the church has made the decision to use Australian tithing donations exclusively for humanitarian charity donations and then funnel "other non-Australian tithing donations" into the country to pay for the on going costs of supporting the day to day operating costs of the church in Australia through some accounting book scheme, it may or may not be legal but irrespective, does it keep with the spirit of the law?  I think this question will be the focus of any government inquiry.

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

They've had plenty of time to find and close any loophole if that's what people want to call this.

I see it as essentially having one organization to collect the donations and one one use them.

 

The labor party is currently being mum on whether or not it will conduct an investigation.  Time will tell.  Now that the word is out for a method where by church donations can become fully deductible and avoid any tax penalty, I suspect other churches will jump onboard and inform their member to do something similar or the government will close the loop hole and your tithing will once again not be fully deductible.

The church has very smart tax lawyers and accountants, I suspect that they just found a legal way for the Australian members to avoid paying taxes on the donations. But I also speculate that the government will take steps to close the legal loop hole or declare it legal thus opening up up for all religion in Australia or declare it illegal and fine the church for skirting the law.

Just know that Australian donations to the Humanitarian Fund increased by nearly 3000% the very year that the tax law changed.  Hmmmmm 

I suspect that when they changed the tax law the Australian government never considered that a church would be so adept at avoiding the payment of taxes, but then they had never gotten between the church and it's income stream either.

Edited by Craig Speechly
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36 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

But I also speculate that the government will take steps to close the legal loop hole

Why?  What about this situation is not working precisely the way the government of Australia intended?  It clearly wants its people to give to charity, clearly wants those charities to be directed by Australian citizens, and clearly allows for those charitable efforts to be both national and international in scope.  They wrote the rules to allow exactly that, so mission accomplished!  And in this case, they now get an influx of foreign dollars (from the US-based corporate church) injected into local economies that will be used for "salaries, maintenance, and building," dollars that wouldn't have otherwise been circulating in the Australian economy.  There's actually MORE LDS dollars doing good things in Australia than there would be otherwise.  

This is a tempest in a teapot. 

  

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
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On 10/28/2022 at 3:13 PM, JustAnAustralian said:

Again with the claim that Ensign Peak has 100B. Are reporters ever going to look at the actual number (closer to 42B last June according to the Salt Lake Tribune https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/08/29/lds-church-loses-billions-more/ )?

Ensign Peak only represents one of several funds.  When added together, the combined funds did in pre-pandemic days before the market crashed,  amount to approximately $125B

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7 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

Why?  What about this situation is not working precisely the way the government of Australia intended?  It clearly wants its people to give to charity, clearly wants those charities to be directed by Australian citizens, and clearly allows for those charitable efforts to be both national and international in scope.  They wrote the rules to allow exactly that, so mission accomplished!  And in this case, they now get an influx of foreign dollars (from the US-based corporate church) injected into local economies that will be used for "salaries, maintenance, and building," dollars that wouldn't have otherwise been circulating in the Australian economy.  There's actually MORE LDS dollars doing good things in Australia than there would be otherwise.  

This is a tempest in a teapot. 

  

And I have allowed for this very scenario to be the end result in my posts. I agree with you that your summation may very well be exactly where this matter settles.

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19 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

clearly wants those charities to be directed by Australian citizens, and clearly allows for those charitable efforts to be both national and international in scope.

The overseas charities donated to by the Church must be also be for only developing countries relief funds, so the Australian government benefits as intended by the Church helping to fulfill the government’s goals that were hoped to be met by creating the incentive to donate to these charities, which iirc was both to help provide relief to those who need it and also stabilize certain areas (this was all discussed in this thread, all the government documents clearly identifying the purpose of the law and how the Church fulfills that purpose are quoted and linked to).  The government has to be fully aware the Church is doing this given the names of the Church charities involved as well as the reports the Church submits to the government that are publicly available to anyone who wants to check.

Why would the government want to stop the Church from doing what it was trying to get people to do?

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

If the spirit of the law is that donations in Australia go to humanitarian causes then why would it not be? 

I honestly don't know how to make this any more clearer.   From the churches own web site:

Quote

Tithing is the Lord’s law of finance for His Church. Tithing donations are always used for the Lord’s purposes, which He reveals through a council of His servants. Some of these uses are:

  • Building and maintaining temples, chapels, and other Church buildings.

  • Supporting the activities and operations of local Church congregations.

  • Supporting the programs of the Church, including education and family history research.

Tithes are paid privately, and information about donations is kept strictly confidential.

^^^^^Australian Tax Law excludes tax deductibility for ANY of your tithing funds used for these purposes. ^^^^^ yet you yourself have admitted that you take a 100% tax write off of your tithing because the church found a way to place all of your tithing into a special humanitarian charity to assist you and other Australian tithing payers avoid paying taxes on your tithing donation. This charity just happened to see a nearly 3000% donation increase the very year the tax law changed.  That's great.  I applause the ingenuity of the church and its tax lawyers and accountants for finding this loop hole <--- not a pejorative

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

 

  1. We disagree on it being a loophole.

Loop hole is not a pejorative it what we Americans call a legal way to avoid paying taxes

 

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:
  1. If it's legal then they can't be fined for doing it. If the law is changed, then presumably the church will comply, but it won't be able to be fined for something that was previously legal.

I agree with you.  If the loophole proves legal then no fines will be applied, if it does skirt the law, then fines will be applied.

 

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

The church giving money to humanitarian causes is bad?

No its wonderful.  I applaud all of the wonderful humanitarian work the church does worldwide.

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:
  1. Ensign peak is irrelevant to both Australia and Canada. It is a USA organization operating in the USA.

You are the one that brought up Ensign peak, I was merely correcting your misinformation regarding the the value of all of the combined funds.

 

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:
  1. They consistently use the singular word "fund".

Well now you know that there are FUND(S)

 

1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:
  1. Where are all these other funds discussed in a reliable manner? And don't bring up property portfolios (especially in SLC) because they are irrelevant to the discussion.

This article discusses the various fund(s) however it is behind a paywall

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mormon-church-amassed-100-billion-it-was-the-best-kept-secret-in-the-investment-world-11581138011   

This one is not  https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/mormon-church-has-misled-members-on-100-billion-tax-exempt-investment-fund-whistleblower-alleges/2019/12/16/e3619bd2-2004-11ea-86f3-3b5019d451db_story.html

 

PS: Where in Australia do you live?  I'm sure I was near you, it would have been fun to meet.  I'd have been happy to buy you and your wife dinner.  Maybe next time.

Edited by Craig Speechly
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42 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

Loop hole is not a pejorative it what we Americans call a legal way to avoid paying taxes

From Merriam-Webster: 'loophole: an ambiguity or omission in the text through which the intent of a statute, contract, or obligation may be evaded'. The intent of Australian law is to incentivise the use of charitable donations for certain defined purposes.

The Church is in no way evading the intent of Australian law.

Quote

Australian Tax Law excludes tax deductibility for ANY of your tithing funds used for these purposes.

And yet, under existing regulation, 75 per cent of Australian tithing was deemed tax deductible by the Australian Tax Office. This means that that at least three-quarters of Australian tithing has always been used for purposes that Australian law currently deems as eligible for tax deductions to donors.

Quote

Tithing donations are always used for the Lord’s purposes, which He reveals through a council of His servants.

I think this may be the most important part of what you quoted.

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8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

If you feel that the Australian 60 Minutes story, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age stories were public relation successes and furthered church goals of improving the churches image in Australia, so be it.  I did not get that from these stories, I saw them as PR disasters and an embarrassment to the church.

So this story is either "a PR disaster and an embarrassment to the church" or else a "public relation success" which "furthered church goals of improving the churches image in Australia."  No middle ground, then?

Is whether the the allegations of the Church are accurate or not something that is on your radar at all?

8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

I do not fault the church for doing every legal thing they can to  avoid paying taxes and in making Australian tithing tax deductible for members.  And that may very well be what has happened in this case but the stories do not suggest that that is what took place.

The stories are yellow journalism, and not even very good specimens at that.  Lots of conclusory declarations, risible accusations, harrumphing, pearl-clutching, and so on from a cadre of embittered and estranged former members, but no substance.

"The stories" do not even make sense on their face.  Why would the Church go to the specific effort of setting up LDSCA to comply with tax law in Australia, situate three CPAs with formidable and relevant skill sets in Australia to be the decision-makers (again, in compliance with Australian law), and then turn around and violate the law by overriding the in-Australia decision-makers?   

8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

And as I stated in my earlier post, perhaps everything is legal and above board. 

Seems like a pretty strong "perhaps."  Presumption of innocence and all that.

8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

I guess if the church has taken advantage of a previous unknown loop hole, good for them

Apparently the law is relatively new.  

And it's not a loophole in the law.  It is the law.

8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

it will then be up to the Australian Government to either allow other religious organizations to take full advantage of the loop hole or place additional restrictions in the tax law. 

Yep.  The government can choose to penalize or incentivize charitable giving.  

8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

Perhaps the church has done the Australian Government a favor by exposing this loop hole (if it is determined to be such).

How so?

Do you think the Australian government just stumbled into this law?  Or is it perhaps more likely that the law was intentionally crafted to work the way it does?

8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

I choose not to post anonymously, anyone who wants can google my name and find whatever is out there on the internet on me. To my knowledge I am the ONLY "Craig Speechly" in the world, although I am aware of a Craig Speechley that lives in Australia. By disclosing my longstanding friendship with both Simon and Neville, I did so to be transparent with this board. 

I commend you for that.  We have no small number of participants on this board who hide their identities while sniping at the Church about things like it lacking transparancy, candor, etc.  The irony of such hectorings coming from people presenting them anonymously and behind pseudonyms is . . . strong.

8 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

I also have longstanding friendships with dozens of active members in Australia as well, whom I also met and visited with while in Oz during this visit.  In this group of friends are current temple presidency members, mission presidency members, stake leaders, bishops and women auxiliary leaders as well as the foundational members of the church in Australia, those that just attend because they love the church.   I posted earlier( in another thread) of my meeting with a gentleman who joined the church 49 years a go due to my having given him a Book of Mormon during a street meeting, he found me this past summer through Facebook.  I am not an enemy of the church nor do I fall into one of the all bad or all good, black or white camps.  There is a lot of nuance in my world and I love people for the good I see in them.  

I'm glad to hear it.  Welcome to the board.

Thanks,

-Smac

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14 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

From Merriam-Webster: 'loophole: an ambiguity or omission in the text through which the intent of a statute, contract, or obligation may be evaded'. The intent of Australian law is to incentivise the use of charitable donations for certain defined purposes.

The Church is in no way evading the intent of Australian law.

Loopholes are not necessarily illegal, they are just crafty ways to avoid the payment of tax that without their use would have had to be paid.  That the church is shifting funds around into multiple charity funds, funneling non-Australian donated funds into Australia to pay for the day to day non tax deductible operations of the church to again remove the tax obligations of Australian tithe payers and is the only church in Australia using this tax avoidance tool, is all the evidence one needs to see that the church is using a loophole.  Again good for the church, I applaud their ingenuity. The Australian Tax Service will either affirm its use or remove the ambiguity in the law to close its use.  Its what governments do when their laws fail to met their intended purposes, if that is what is happening here.

14 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

And yet, under existing regulation, 75 per cent of Australian tithing was deemed tax deductible by the Australian Tax Office. This means that that at least three-quarters of Australian tithing has always been used for purposes that Australian law currently deems as eligible for tax deductions to donors.

No one is disputing this fact.

14 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I think this may be the most important part of what you quoted.

I agree.

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15 hours ago, smac97 said:

So this story is either "a PR disaster and an embarrassment to the church" or else a "public relation success" which "furthered church goals of improving the churches image in Australia."  No middle ground, then?

There is always middle ground. I'm a middle ground kind of guy after all.

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

Is whether the the allegations of the Church are accurate or not something that is on your radar at all?

Of course, and I expressed that in my OP.  This may turn out to be completely legal and a brilliant move on the part of the church to assist the members of the Australian church receive 100% tax deductiblity. 

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

The stories are yellow journalism, and not even very good specimens at that.  Lots of conclusory declarations, risible accusations, harrumphing, pearl-clutching, and so on from a cadre of embittered and estranged former members, but no substance.

I agree that the story relied too much on information and perspective from church critics.  The church was given the opportunity to comment and chose not to, which is their right.  I too would have preferred a more balanced story.

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

"The stories" do not even make sense on their face.  Why would the Church go to the specific effort of setting up LDSCA to comply with tax law in Australia, situate three CPAs with formidable and relevant skill sets in Australia to be the decision-makers (again, in compliance with Australian law), and then turn around and violate the law by overriding the in-Australia decision-makers?   

I hope I haven't stated anywhere that the church has violated the law.  I think that all I have said is that the church has used loopholes to make the tithing of Australian members 100% tax deductible.  That these tools may have broken the spirit of the law, thus my use of the term , Loophole. I have also stated that the use of these charities to move donations around to avoid the payment of taxes may very well be deem legal by the government and that time will tell if the tax service chooses to conduct an investigation, which will be done quietly out of the press.

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

Seems like a pretty strong "perhaps."  Presumption of innocence and all that.

Apparently the law is relatively new.  

And it's not a loophole in the law.  It is the law.

The law is that Australian donated funds used for the day to day operations of the church be taxed.  This is NOT taking place.  I can't make this any more clear.  Because the church is funneling non Australian donations into the county for the express purpose of paying those day to day operations, the tithing donations of Australian members can be applied 100% toward the humanitarian charity funds...thus qualifying those donations 100% tax free qualified.

I see this as similar but different to what took place within the United States a few years back.  The IRS deemed monthly mission payments by parents directly to their children servicing missions as non tax deductible.  So the church adapted and had parents pay the same fees directly to the church with the church then paying the monthly needs of the missionaries and thereby making these donations tax deductible. But in Australia it is a much more complicated process of moving the money around.

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

Yep.  The government can choose to penalize or incentivize charitable giving.  

How so?

Do you think the Australian government just stumbled into this law?  Or is it perhaps more likely that the law was intentionally crafted to work the way it does?

We'll see.  But on the surface given the initial reaction of surprise from the labor minister directly responsible for the tax services, I suspect that this move by the church took the Australian government by surprise too and was not the indention of the law. It was clearly not within the spirit of the law.  The law was expressly changed so that day to day operations of all churches operating within Australia be taxed while still allowing for donated funds going to charities proceed non-taxed.

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

I commend you for that.  We have no small number of participants on this board who hide their identities while sniping at the Church about things like it lacking transparancy, candor, etc.  The irony of such hectorings coming from people presenting them anonymously and behind pseudonyms is . . . strong.

I don't see my comments as sniping, that is not my intent. I am honestly attempting to be balanced and expect push back from board participants should I fail to do so.

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

I'm glad to hear it.  Welcome to the board.

Thanks,

-Smac

Happy to participate.

Edited by Craig Speechly
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23 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

There is always middle ground. I'm a middle ground kind of guy after all.

Of course, and I expressed that in my OP.  This may turn out to be completely legal and a brilliant move on the part of the church to assist the members of the Australian church receive 100% tax deductiblity. 

I agree that the story relied too much on information and perspective from church critics.  The church was given the opportunity to comment and chose not to, which is their right.  I too would have preferred a more balanced story.

I hope I haven't stated anywhere that the church has violated the law.  I think that all I have said is that the church has used loopholes to make the tithing of Australian members 100% tax deductible.  That these tools may have broken the spirit of the law, thus my use of the term , Loophole. I have also stated that the use of these charities to move donations around to avoid the payment of taxes may very well be deem legal by the government and that time will tell if the tax service chooses to conduct an investigation, which will be done quietly out of the press.

The law is that Australian donated funds used for the day to day operations of the church be taxed.  This is NOT taking place.  I can't make this any more clear.  Because the church is funneling non Australian donations into the county for the express purpose of paying those day to day operations, the tithing donations of Australian members can be applied 100% toward the humanitarian charity funds...thus qualifying those donations 100% tax free qualified.

I see this as similar but different to what took place within the United States a few years back.  The IRS deemed monthly mission payments by parents directly to their children servicing missions as non tax deductible.  So the church adapted and had parents pay the same fees directly to the church thus making these donations tax deductible. But in Australia it is a much more complicated process of moving the money around.

We'll see.  But on the surface given the initial reaction of surprise from the labor minister directly responsible for the tax services, I suspect that this move by the church took the Australian government by surprise too and was not the indention of the law. It was clearly no within the spirit of the law.  The law was expressly changed so that day to day operations of all churches operating within Australia be taxed while still allowing for donated funds going to charities proceed non-taxed.

I don't see my comments as sniping, that is not my intent. I am honestly attempting to be balanced and expect push back from board participants should I fail to do so.

Happy to participate.

You're not sniping and criticism should be allowed.  Certain individuals on this board have a bunker mentality and cannot handle even the appearance of criticism.  And I agree that what the church has done is perhaps within the technical aspects of Australian tax law, but perhaps in violation of the spirit of it.  You bring up a good point that if the Australian donations go elsewhere, then SLC must cover the day to day operation costs and that certainly wasn't the intention of the law.

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26 minutes ago, Stormin&#x27; Mormon said:

Uhmmmm....

Thus my use of the term loophole.  The law states that donated funds used for the day to day operations of a church be taxed, these expenses are not tax deductible.  The churches tax lawyers and accountants believe that they have found wiggle room within the law to shelter Australian tithing by placing it within these humanitarian charities thus sheltering a 100% of the Australian donations.  The day to day operations of the church in Australia are then paid by non-Australian tithing dollars from elsewhere.  It's a brilliant scheme if successful but certainly not within the spirit of the law that is seeking taxes on those donated funds used for the day to day operations.

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Taken Directly from the Australian Tax Website:

Quote
Charity tax concession status help
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS is a Charity endorsed to access the following tax concessions:
Tax concession From
GST Concession 01 Jul 2005
FBT Rebate 01 Jul 2005
Income Tax Exemption 01 Jul 2000
Deductible gift recipient status help
Not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts
Quote
LDS CHARITIES AUSTRALIA is a Public Benevolent Institution endorsed to access the following tax concessions:
Tax concession From
GST Concession 12 Dec 2014
Income Tax Exemption 12 Dec 2014
FBT Exemption 12 Dec 2014
Deductible gift recipient status help
LDS CHARITIES AUSTRALIA is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) from 07 May 2015. It is covered by Item 1 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 .

Note: The timing of the nearly 3000% increase in funds donated to LDS Charities Australia in 2015

The church previously operated in Australia under the name

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (AUSTRALIA) but voluntarily reorganized after the tax law change deemed it no longer eligible for tax deductibility.

Quote
Entity name: THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (AUSTRALIA)
ABN status: Cancelled from 15 Feb 2019
Entity type: Other Unincorporated Entity
Goods & Services Tax (GST): Not currently registered for GST
Main business location:
NSW 2118
Deductible gift recipient status help
Not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts

Out of curiosity I also checked the deductible status of donations made to the Catholic and Church of England.  Neither is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.

The Australian government clearly intended that donation made to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints NOT be tax deductible while donations made to LDS Charities Australia be Tax Deductible...thus the tax deduction illegibility designation clearly spelled out

Edited by Craig Speechly
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Look for yourselves.

LDS charities Income : Total revenue: $93,087,880.00

https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/charities/30f0a550-3aaf-e811-a963-000d3ad24077/profile

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Australia) Income: Total revenue: $35,184,408.00

https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/charities?search=The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints (Australia)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Australian Tax Law distinguishes donations as either a gift or a donation:

  • A gift is a donation of money or property made voluntarily with no material benefit to the donor. It must fall within our definition of a 'gift type'.
  • If you receive a material benefit – that is if the donor receives something which has a monetary value from the DGR in return for their donation – the donation is called a contribution.  **(MY EDIT) ** If you attend a building, chapel, temple, synagogue, you are receiving a material benefit.  This type of gift is considered a donation and is not tax deductible.

 

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Sigh.  After 15 pages, I still don't know what the scandal here is.  

Australian citizens can now donate to a fund that allows them to deduct 100% of their donation from their taxes instead of 75% of their donation.  But this is an option that is open to EVERY citizen of Australia.  Everyone Down Under can choose a charity that will get them that 100% tax deduction.  The saints in Australia do not have more tax-deduction options than their non-member neighbors. No citizen comes out worse because of this set-up.  

The government of Australia would like tax-deductible charitable dollars to be directed by Australian citizens, so that goodwill is built up among the developing nations who receive charitable giving from Australian charities.  This is happening.  If it was concerned about milking every possible tax dollar it could from its citizens, it wouldn't even have tax deductions for ANY charitable organization.  It set up these rules, fully aware that it would result in the loss of some tax revenues, and that such a loss was perfectly acceptable in the pursuit of the larger goal.  The government is getting exactly what it wants from these rules.  

The Church organization itself isn't saving on any money through this set up; if anything, this set up increases the overhead costs back at HQ.  

So where is the case or controversy?  Who is the victim here?  Where is the violation, even in the malleably-defined spirit of the law?  

This is starting to sound like concern trolling and white knighting to me.  "Oh, you aren't offended by this innocuous thing that doesn't harm anyone?  Let me tell you why you should be!"

 

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
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42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

Sigh.  After 15 pages, I still don't know what the scandal here is.  

Australian citizens can now donate to a fund that allows them to deduct 100% of their donation from their taxes instead of 75% of their donation.

Correct

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

But this is an option that is open to EVERY citizen of Australia.  Everyone Down Under can choose a charity that will get them that 100% tax deduction.  The saints in Australia do not have more tax-deduction options than their non-member neighbors. No citizen comes out worse because of this set-up.  

A deductible charity has to have been deemed a Deductible Gift Recipient to qualify LDS charities has received this designation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not nor have other churches chosen to follow suit.

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

The government of Australia would like tax-deductible charitable dollars to be directed by Australian citizens, so that goodwill is built up among the developing nations who receive charitable giving from Australian charities.  This is happening. 

Yes it is, although part of the reported story is questioning whether the charity funds are actually being directed by Australians since LDS charities show no expense for employee incomes.

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

If it was concerned about milking every possible tax dollar it could from its citizens, it wouldn't even have tax deductions for ANY charitable organization.  It set up these rules, fully aware that it would result in the loss of some tax revenues, and that such a loss was perfectly acceptable in the pursuit of the larger goal.  The government is getting exactly what it wants from these rules.

This is the point in question.  Are they really collecting all of the tax that the tax law intended?  If the church has found a means by which donations intended to pay for the day to day operations of the church in  Australia are not being taxed is the spirit of the law being met? 

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

 The Church organization itself isn't saving on any money through this set up; if anything, this set up increases the overhead costs back at HQ.

I think that a case could be made that tithing funds might decrease if the church had not found a means by which tithing was able to be 100% deductible.

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

So where is the case or controversy?

It is ONLY a controversy if deemed so by the Australian government.  Otherwise there is none.

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

 Who is the victim here?

The victim is the Australian tax payer who does not benefit from the taxes not paid on the otherwise non tax deductible funds used to pay for the day to day operations of the church in Australia

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

 Where is the violation, even in the malleably-defined spirit of the law? 

There may be none...we will have to wait and see

42 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

This is starting to sound like concern trolling and white knighting to me.  "Oh, you aren't offended by this innocuous thing that doesn't harm anyone?  Let me tell you why you should be!"

I am sorry if you have found what I have sincerely attempted to be as a balanced approach in my posts as offensive or trolling and white knighting as you say.  I merely entered this subject because I felt I had some unique insight on this subject that others might find of value.  Please feel welcome to ignore any future posts I may make in this thread,  I sincerely meant no offense.

Edited by Craig Speechly
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