January 6, 2021
U.S. Department of The Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Mr. Callanan,
My name is Stefani Hutchison. I am a writer, blogger and activist concerned with the abuses and fraud perpetrated by the Church of Scientology.
I am writing to you today respectfully requesting the U.S. Treasury’s investigation of Scientology’s current tax exempt status. This request is not about any belief system. It is solely about the law and the stated guidelines that must be met for any organization to qualify for and maintain its exempt status.
According to the guidelines a 501 (c) (3) exemption is at risk if it is found the organization is being “operated in a manner materially different than originally represented”.
First there is the matter of the information provided by CSI (Church of Scientology International) in their documents provided to the IRS.
Attached Statement, Form 1023, Dated November 20, 1981:
Question 2. What are or will be the organization’s form of income?
Scientology responded; “CSI’s primary sources of financial support are: Contributions from other Scientology organizations, including payments for ecclesiastical guidance and staff training, Payments from Scientology churches for use of religious films, receipts from sale of religious materials, (books, e-meters, films, etc). Investment income.”
The “contributions from other Scientology organizations” must come from somewhere. In fact these monies are paid in part through a form of franchising. License fees and a percentage of income are funneled upwards from organization to organization until ultimately reaching CSI.
For example, Scientology’s boarding school, Delphian School, located in Sheridan, Oregon not only utilizes Scientology “Study Tech” which was created by L. Ron Hubbard, but it is staffed by Scientologists, employs Scientology “religious” practices such as its Ethics structure, Knowledge Reports and the teaching of basic Scientology beliefs as seen in its Student Parent Handbook. “Study Tech” which is a required part of the Scientology religion, is also known as Applied Scholastics. Delphian School and other Scientology schools use Applied Scholastics as the only curriculum. In order to use the Applied Scholastics body of work, license fees are paid as well as 10% of Delphian’s income.
Additionally, Delphian School has numerous questionable non-profit and for profit entities operating from the Sheridan, Oregon address such as Heron Books, Phocis, Inc, and a Real Estate company called Lamakat Partnership. In fact, a search of Delphian’s address; 20950 SW Rock Creek Road, Sheridan, Oregon, 97378, reveals 35 businesses connected to this property at one time or another. At the time of this writing according to Oregon’s business entity search there are 9 active businesses using Delphian School as a base of operation. Is Delphian collecting rent for these companies?
As a Scientology school, in order to use L. Ron Hubbard’s material, Applied Scholastics, Delphian must also pay licensing fees to Scientology’s RTC, Religious Technology Center.
As convoluted and confusing as it intentionally is, money from each of these supposedly separate and non-profit entities does eventually roll upwards into CSI coffers. Make no mistake, CSI is benefitting monetarily from their supposedly separate non-profits.
Question 14 from Form 1023: Is the organization or any part of it a school?
Scientology answered “NO”.
The aforementioned Delphi Academy – Scientology private schools which includes the flagship school, Delphian School. Delphi schools claim to be secular and non profit. High school aged students who attend Delphian can expect to be charged between $21,127 – $60,361 per school year as boarders, depending upon their household income.
Please refer to Delphian School’s Student Parent Handbook which is filled with direct religious teaching by L. Ron Hubbard.
Applied Scholastics – Applied Scholastics is the Church of Scientology’s educational oversight branch. Though AS does not openly affiliate itself with Scientology, its goal is to promote Hubbard’s teaching methods in schools.
If these schools did not exist at the time the form was filled out then there have been some significant changes made. If they did exist then Scientology lied.
Certainly Scientology has made some fundamental changes since the granting of the tax exempt status.
Next, is the question of Scientology’s ability to stand up to scrutiny under the requirements listed by the IRS to qualify as a Church.
The IRS’ guidelines stipulate a:
1. Recognized creed and form of worship
2. Distinct religious history
3. Membership not associated with any other church or denomination
Again, this is not an issue of particular beliefs. It is a question of the law and this organization’s ability to qualify for their exemption.
In CSI’s Attached Statement, Form 1023 in order to convince the IRS of their legitimacy as a Church Scientology stated, “Scientology is a very exact faith, and a fundamental doctrine of the religion is that its religious services must be orthodox this doctrine holds that spiritual salvation can be attained if, and only if, the path to salvation outlined in the Scripture’s religious technology is followed without deviation.” However the reality is that Scientology publicly claims one can be Christian, Jewish or of any other faith and still be a Scientologist. Case in point, Actress and Scientologist Erika Christensen tweeted “Jewish Scientologists celebrate Hanukkah…there are Baptist to Buddhist to Muslim Scientologists.”
On Scientology’s front group Stand League there are numerous articles with Scientologists proclaiming that they practice another religion in addition to Scientology. On March 2, 2020 an article appeared on Stand League’s blog wherein the author claims both Jewish and Scientology religious practices. “I was born Jewish and continued to embrace this faith even while I became a Scientologist some 47 years ago. Over my lifetime, I have personally been denigrated for practicing each of these religions.”
There are other, similar declarations of obviously acceptable dual religious practices:
“I am a Jew and a Scientologist.”
“I’m a Scientologist and celebrate Christmas.”
Stand League is a Scientology run organization. It is logical that anyone submitting articles to appear on this Scientology site will be approved before posting. If such claims are being publicly made then they reflect the acceptance of the Church of Scientology of the embrace of and practice of secondary religions in conjunction with Scientology. There are no disclaimers on the site to the contrary.
“I know of a lot of people who remain Christian, but who are also Scientologists.”
These few are just a very small sample of the ideology of members of Scientology. There is enough evidence available across the internet to show that either the members are unaware of the requirements of their church, the members are intentionally misrepresenting the facts surrounding their church’s requirements or Scientology does indeed permit one to dabble in all and sundry doctrines and tenets beyond their own. In any case, this open confusion concerning what is supposed to be “Membership not associated with any other church or denomination” clearly means this requirement is not being adhered to.
Finally and most importantly there is the serious question of inurement. The preceding points notwithstanding, David Miscavige is living an exceptionally luxurious lifestyle. Private airplanes, expensive vehicles, custom motorcycles, trips to Vegas, tailored suits and Cartier watches combined with household staff including private cooks and hairdressers. More insidious are the millions of dollars that are spent each year on private investigators who are sent out to follow, stalk, harass and photograph former members and others whom the Church considers to be enemies. All of these expenditures are paid for by the income generated by Scientology. No matter what personal tax returns Miscavige may be filing, it is certain that what he claims cannot cover the lifestyle to which he is accustomed.
Hiring private investigators to follow former members cannot possibly be either a charitable endeavor or a non taxable event.
The facts are clear that Scientology is being neither transparent nor honest in their actions. They are in clear and flagrant violation of the requirements set forth by the IRS in order to continue to hold a 501 (c) (3) exemption.
As a concerned tax payer I am asking you, as according to the law a church tax inquiry can only begin if: “… an appropriate high-level Treasury official reasonably believes (on the basis of facts and circumstances recorded in writing) that the church may not be exempt, by reason of its status as a church, … or may be carrying on an unrelated trade or business … or otherwise engaged in activities subject to taxation. …”
Given the lack of upholding the requirements for continuation of their exempt status as well as the suspicious circumstances surrounding the expenditures of David Miscavige it is my sincere hope that you will open an investigation into whether this exemption should continue or if, as is so clear, Scientology is in fact a multi million dollar conglomerate operating as a business.
Stefani A. Hutchison