Scientology Wins Tax-Exempt Status
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Church of Scientology has regained tax-exempt status after a 26-year battle with the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS said it granted tax-exempt status to ″various entities within the hierarchy,″ but essentially the entire church is affected, said Marty Rathbun, president of Religious Technology Center, which holds the church’s trademarks.
IRS spokesman Frank Keith said Tuesday that the church entities proved they were ″operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes.″
The IRS had recognized the Church of Scientology of California, founded by L. Ron Hubbard, as a tax-exempt religious organization in 1957.
But it revoked that exemption in 1967, questioning, for example, the way the church charges for classes that are part of the religious practice.
The Los Angeles-based organization claims more than 7 million members. Critics put its global membership at about 50,000 and accuse the church of brainwashing and intimidation.
Hubbard’s writings, including the best-selling ″Dianetics,″ are used as church scriptures. He died in 1986.