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This man has a plan to force the Mormon Church to pay tax

This man has a plan to force the Mormon Church to pay tax

Fred Karger, above, a prominent gay-rights activist and former US presidential candidate, has unveiled plans to build ‘the biggest, loudest and most comprehensive’ legal case ever mounted for revoking the tax-exempt status of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A longtime critic of Mormons’ involvement in California’s anti-gay 2008 Proposition 8 campaign, Karger said he has amassed a network of lawyers, researchers, investigators and like-minded organisations to help take his fight to the IRS.

According to this report, Karger, 66, visited Salt Lake City to stage on-camera auditions with young Mormons and ex-Mormons aggrieved by the Utah-based Mormons’ lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender policies.

Some of these 18- to 24-year-olds, Karger said, will be featured in a series of TV commercials to be aired in Utah early next year, encouraging others to step forward with inside information on the church’s business holdings and political dealings – including its efforts against same-sex marriage.

He said:

Somebody has got to fight for these kids. It’s inexcusable, the damage and suffering the church has caused for so many of these families.

The Mormon faith, he said:

Needs to change with the times.

Karger, who in 2012 became the first openly gay candidate to seek the Republican presidential nomination, founded Californians Against Hate in 2008 partly to investigate under-reported financial involvement by Mormons in support of Prop 8, which briefly banned gay marriage in the Golden State.

The Mormons’ involvement with Prop 8 in California sparked widespread anger

Karger said his probing of the LDS Church had fallen largely dormant after his failed presidential quest – only to be revived in the aftermath of the November 2015 LDS policy declaring gay Mormon couples “apostates” and generally barring their children from baptism until they turn 18.

He said the policy’s emotional toll – including what he called a spike in teen suicides – has been traumatic.

The IRS case may take a year or more to build, Karger conceded. “We’re really going to dig,” he said, adding the filing would be accompanied by “hundreds of boxes of documents,” including internal church memos and videos that already have been leaked.

His California-based Rights Equal Rights also has launched a website, MormonTips.com, to encourage LDS whistleblowers. The site says:

The Mormon Church receives billions and billions of dollars every year from its members through a mandatory, minimum 10% tithing of their gross income. The billions of dollars given to the Mormon Church are tax deductible to Church members.

The Mormon Church’s business holdings, estimated to be nearly $1 trillion, are run as tax free enterprises owned outright by the Church. Thus the Mormon Church does not likely pay any federal, state or local taxes on its profits from all its holdings.

Federal law prohibits churches and other tax-exempt entities from participating or intervening on behalf of political candidates.
In past comments, Mormon officials have been adamant they have kept within legally appropriate lines. The LDS Church maintains a neutral stance in partisan matters, but reserves its right to speak out on issues with:

Significant community or moral consequences.

While motivated by what he sees as the harmful social impact of the LDS Church’s LGBT policies, Karger said, his IRS push focuses on political and business activities that he argues have compromised its assertions of remaining on the political sidelines.

He alleges LDS Church involvement in opposing same-sex marriage initiatives in as many as 26 states and the use of Mormon meetinghouses for political organising.

Karger said he is also working to substantiate assertions that LDS Public Affairs officials assisted Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid behind the scenes. Romney, who lost to President Barack Obama, became the first Mormon to head a major party ticket in the US

Karger said he also is targeting taxation on the church’s vast commercial and land holdings, including retail operations such as Deseret Book and City Creek Center, the $2 billion shopping complex in the heart of Salt Lake City.

These activities cross the line and nobody has challenged them on it.

Karger has a tough battle ahead.

Sam Brunson, a tax-law scholar at Loyola University in Chicago, has noted that no tax-exempt entity has lost its exemption with the IRS for violating public policy since 1978 – “much less,” he said, “any church.”

11 responses to “This man has a plan to force the Mormon Church to pay tax”

  1. Michael Glass says:

    Good move. Religious bodies should pay at least some taxes.

  2. L.Long says:

    ALL religions should be marked as 501 charities and be audited as such!!! NO special treatment as none of them deserve it!!

  3. Freddy says:

    The real motivation behind all religions is the generation of wealth and establishment of political power to assist the generation of wealth. That’s it. Simple. The pious elite don’t have to produce anything, they don’t have to buy in raw materials, there are no development costs, no up front investment. They just take money from the credulous and enjoy extensive tax benefits to magnify the value of the money they rake in. There are no product liabilities to worry about and no warranty costs to bear either. It’s a rather good business model … as it should be after centuries of refinement.

  4. Robster says:

    A ten percent tax take would be justified.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    Every secular non profit must demonstrate a quantifiable social good to achieve tax exempt status. So many homeless housed, so many hours of therapy delivered, so many hungry children fed. Religions have no such requirement. I suggest they would not suffer were they held to the standards of secular non profits. And if they did suffer, well, that’s okay too.

  6. Newspaniard says:

    The mormon mafia will have this bloke killed if he gets too close to the truth.

  7. Paul says:

    Is this the mormons whose founder found gawds words written into gold tablets / that when he was asked to produce them he said were lost. And the same mormons whose ‘book’ said a lost tribe of Israel ended up in ‘butthole’ USA to found a new Jewish religious utopia. Where gawd said yes you can f*** your Cousins and f*** your domestic servants and have four wives. Surely they shouldn’t pay tax – as it’s the one true religion.
    Book of Morom is a fantastic show – if you haven’t seen it – I would encourage you.
    And if they pay taxes all religious organisations ought to and at the higher rates as corporations – because these things are run for profit – they are not truly charities. They are alike corporations.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Paul: As I’ve said before, we used to be plagued by Mormons in Swindon, and they poached some of our young Christians, so I bought a copy of their book in a charity shop to see what it was like, and fell about laughing. Verily and henceforth, it did come to pass that it did be written in ye style of ye King James Bible, and did contain ye exceedingly stupid claim that ye ancestors of ye Americans did verily traverse ye continent of Asia as Moses and ye Israelites of old…what nonsense. Some good stuff posted by Steve Wells here, for those who haven’t come across the site before:

    http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/blogging-book-of-mormon.html

  9. Stephen Mynett says:

    BJ, it is one of my favourite reads, I could imagine Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett doing it as a spoof on religious books, apart from the fact they were literate and good writers.

  10. Brian Jordan says:

    declaring gay Mormon couples “apostates” and generally barring their children from baptism until they turn 18.
    They should think themselves lucky – millions of people have had to wait until they were dead before they could be baptised as Morons.
    no tax-exempt entity has lost its exemption with the IRS for violating public policy since 1978 – “much less,” he said, “any church.”
    Word has it that once Trump is inaugurated, churches will be allowed to meddle in politics anyway.

  11. L.Long says:

    “…Word has it that once Trump is inaugurated, churches will be allowed to meddle in politics anyway.”
    Big deal as they meddle in politics now, as when a law is NOT enforced it is mostly criminally crooked system in charge.