An article by ABC News reporting that the Church of Scientology lost its tax-exempt status in March 2016 is 100% true.
Claim: The Supreme Court revoked the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status in March 2016.
Example: [Collected via Email, March 2016]
“Did the IRS recently rescind the tax exempt status of the church of Scientology?”
Origin: On March 11th, 2016, ABC News claimed that the Supreme Court had revoked the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status:
In a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court today, the eight justices ruled in favor of revoking the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status in the United States. Under the ruling, Scientology will still be able to operate as a business but no longer as a non-profit religious organization.
The case was brought forward by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division after concluding a two-year-long investigation into the inner workings of Scientology. The investigation, along with an extensive audit, found the group to be a “criminal operation with a sole purpose of making money”. The eight justices agreed with the IRS and its findings that Scientology was neither a religion or fell under the guidelines of a non-profit charitable organization.
Later that day, Snopes.com, a website owned by Scientology, said the news was false, claiming:
The Supreme Court did not revoke the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status for any reason in March 2016. However, there is a complicated history to the relationship between the organization and the Internal Revenue Service: the Church of Scientology was founded in 1954, but lost its tax-exempt status in 1967 when the IRS determined it was a commercial enterprise, not a religious one.
After decades of an organized campaign (including lawsuits, investigations by detectives hired by Scientology’s lawyers to dig into the private lives of IRS employees, Scientologist representatives creating phony news bureaus, and financing whistleblowers to attack the IRS publicly) the agency granted tax exemptions to Scientology organizations again in 1993.
Tony Ortega, an American journalist and blogger who is best known for his daily blog about the Church of Scientology, told reporters today that Scientology did in fact lose its tax exempt status.
“This is a great day for America! We need more amazing people like Paul Horner that get the job done in Washington to put an end to these evil cults. No more tax-exempt status for Scientology!”