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Is the Church breaking Tax Law in Australia?

Given how politicized issues are with tax and churches in the United States a recent issue in Australia may be ripe for abuse by church detractors.

Australia does not allow tax exemptions for funds used for building and maintaining churches. But they do provide tax exemptions for donations for humanitarian uses. So the Church of Jesus Christ has structured its donations differently in Australia. Tithing funds go to a local office, run by volunteers, and the funds are used in accordance with Australian law.

The concern is that because the office uses volunteers and doesn’t have any paid employees it may be seen as a “shell company” under Australian law. The Church often works with local officials to ensure technical matters of these kinds are addressed.

But a local reporter, Ben Schneiders is attempting to make the concern much larger. Last year Schneiders found himself embroiled in controversy for what was called “knowingly misinterpreting financial data” of another religion.

Schneiders appears to be skirting ethics again in his journalism here making claims that an investigation was being conducted by multiple news organizations, without revealing that the article published at each publication was written by him.




About the author

C.D. Cunningham

C.D. Cunningham is the managing editor of Public Square magazine. After graduating from BYU-Idaho, he studied religion at Harvard University Extension. He serves on the board of the Latter-day Saint Publishing and Media Association.
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