England: Church of Scientology loses business rates’ appeal for its Religious Education College Inc based on argument that College is place of worship

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England: Church of Scientology loses business rates’ appeal for its Religious Education College Inc. based on argument that College is a place of worship

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Dunlop Heywood: The Church of Scientology loses business rates’ appeal

6TH AUGUST 2021


The Church of Scientology loses business rates’ appeal - Dunlop Heywood


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The Church of Scientology has been testing the limits of business rate exemptions in its latest appeal at the Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE)

The religious group was trying to get its Religious Education College Inc. classed as a place of worship and then seek business rate exemptions under Paragraph 11 of Schedule 5 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

The VTE President heard three appeals relating to premises in Tottenham Court Road and Queen Victoria Street in London and Deansgate, Manchester.

The disputed issues were:

1. Did the appeal properties comprise chapels which were places of public religious worship?

2. If so, did the identified rooms qualify as similar buildings to a church hall?

Without prejudice to the above, did the identified office areas qualify for exemption?

The VTE President found against the Church in that none of the appeal buildings were places of public religious worship. He ascertained that from a physical viewpoint none of the buildings would give the ordinary passer-by the impression that they were places of public worship. In addition, there was no regular visible signage or advertisement of religious ceremonies to which ordinary members of the public could attend. He concluded the invitation test for places of religious worship wasn’t met.

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The official decision:


Valuation Tribunals


http://info.valuation-tribunals.gov.uk/Decision_Documents/documents/NDR/503025236539053N10.pdf


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Summary of decision

The appeals were dismissed as none of the buildings contained a place of public religious worship. The legislation did not permit exemption to be awarded to offices regardless of location and use, on the basis that somewhere in England there was an exempt building.

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The first two pages of the official decision:


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The last two pages of the official decision. The decision is dated 10 June 2021.


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ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Jon Atack now has the story on Tony Ortega's blog. He also does a much better job of summarizing the decision than Dunlop Heywood (the author of the original news story) did -- or quite frankly I did relying on Heywood's story.


Scientology in England faces huge tax bills on its properties, and keeps failing to evade them

By Jon Atack | August 12, 2021


Scientology in England faces huge tax bills on its properties, and keeps failing to evade them | The Underground Bunker


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In a recent blog post, Mike Rinder reports Scientology’s failure to obtain tax exemption for three of its buildings in England. On this side of the pond, an annual tax is paid on the ratable value of a building – whether domestic or commercial.

Scientology applied for this property tax not to be levied on the grounds that these buildings are used for public worship. The Valuation Tribunal for England turned down the original application and has now rejected an appeal against that decision.

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Harold#1

A VERY STABLE SUPER GENIUS!!
Jon Atack now has the story on Tony Ortega's blog. He also does a much better job of summarizing the decision than Dunlop Heywood (the author of the original news story) did -- or quite frankly I did relying on Heywood's story.


Scientology in England faces huge tax bills on its properties, and keeps failing to evade them

By Jon Atack | August 12, 2021


Scientology in England faces huge tax bills on its properties, and keeps failing to evade them | The Underground Bunker


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

View attachment 13211


In a recent blog post, Mike Rinder reports Scientology’s failure to obtain tax exemption for three of its buildings in England. On this side of the pond, an annual tax is paid on the ratable value of a building – whether domestic or commercial.

Scientology applied for this property tax not to be levied on the grounds that these buildings are used for public worship. The Valuation Tribunal for England turned down the original application and has now rejected an appeal against that decision.

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As usual, Jon Atacks writing on Scientology is outstanding:

As Scientology has been arguing this case since March of 2015, they will probably have to find a few million pounds to make good their debt. Tony asked me to clarify the situation regarding the petitioner in this case – the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Incorporated (COSRECI). Why are the UK outposts of Scientology registered in South Australia?

From the outset, Ron Hubbard scattered corporations like confetti at a wedding. In 1950, there were five Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundations – all of which went bankrupt because Hubbard had his hands in their tills. These would be followed by the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation, the Hubbard College, and the Hubbard Association of Scientologists – which only takes us up to 1953.

Although his Navy service fell short of any act of heroism (or indeed combat), Hubbard learned that ships and submarines have water-tight compartments, so that flooding in one compartment does not lead to flooding in any other. Similarly, he learned not to put all his eggs in one basket. COSRECI was one of the many baskets through which money could be funneled into his Swiss bank account.

With the “corporate sort-out” of the early 1980s, Scientology split into hundreds of compartments, but retained the Australian COSRECI for use in the UK. In reality (as I argued successfully in several US cases from 1988 onward), Scientology is a “monolithic corporation”, controlled by a single individual. That individual is David Miscavige, who, it is alleged, retains signed undated resignations for every director in those many corporations.

Scientology was unable to gain tax exemption in the US during Hubbard’s lifetime, because while the Sea Org lived in abject poverty, money ‘inured’ to Ron Hubbard. The $648 million in his will was all taken from Scientology – and therefore from Scientologists (promotional costs for his fiction were greater than the profits). At the International Base, staff were denied toilet paper, but Hubbard had a property with a racetrack, a 24-track recording studio and owned 2000 camera pieces (and Hasselblads are not cheap). While Sea Org members often had to scrub a single set of clothes month after month, Hubbard’s handmade shirts were flown out from Savile Row in London. David Miscavige has continued this tradition of inurement, spending thousands on Egyptian cotton shirts, Italian leather shoes, expensive cars and fine imported liquor.

COSRECI was established in South Australia in 1977, probably because Scientology had achieved religious status there, making it more likely that an application for charitable tax exemption would be possible.

The Australian ruling granted religious status, “Regardless of whether the members of the applicant [the Church of Scientology] are gullible or misled or whether the practices of Scientology are harmful or objectionable.”
read more: Scientology in England faces huge tax bills on its properties, and keeps failing to evade them | The Underground Bunker
 
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