Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Cult taxation exemption in Australia From the Hon. Franca Arena, Member of Parliament, NSW: "The [Australian Tax Office] refused tax exemption to an organisation known as the Australian Raelian Movement, which is connected to a French parent organisation. The Raelians believe that the Elohim, referred to in the Bible, are material beings from another galaxy who once colonised Earth. They believe that contemporary world religions have misunderstood the origins of life on Earth. They say that the various prophets of the world religions understood the Elohim as the source of life, but their followers misunderstood the prophets to be supernatural beings.

"Because the Raelians do not believe that the Elohim are supernatural beings the ATO denied their claim for tax exemption. However, tax exemption was granted to the Church of Scientology, another organisation which believes that these beings came to Earth many years ago. The Church of Scientology and Raelian beliefs are equally bizarre, but the Church of Scientology has been granted tax exemptions while the Raelians have not. Clearly, that is discriminatory. Either both institutions should pay tax or neither institution should pay tax. It is equally paradoxical that the Church of Scientology, which to my knowledge does not undertake any good works in Australia, is still technically understood to be a charitable organisation for taxation purposes. That example highlights our bizarre taxation laws, which I hope the Treasurer will seriously examine."

NSW Parliament Hansard: Last modified 05/12/2007

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