Mormon Church in Trouble Amid Allegations of Tax Evasion
The Mormon Church, officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is scaling back its utilization of
The Mormon Church, officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is scaling back its utilization of a contentious shell company following revelations of alleged serious tax evasion in Australia. In 2012, the church established a tax structure that enabled its followers in Australia to accrue exemptions worth hundreds of millions of dollars, which are not lawfully accessible to adherents of other religions.
An investigation conducted in April 2022 raised concerns about potential breaches of Australian tax laws linked to the church’s tax activities. As a result, the Latter-day Saints church, which has claimed compliance with tax laws, has initiated the unwinding of the tax structure.
To obtain full tax deductibility, the church in Australia has funneled donations and tithing, which are not tax-deductible themselves, through a charitable trust. Tithing requires Mormons to contribute 10 percent of their gross income, posing a significant financial burden on followers. Unlike other English-speaking countries, Australia does not permit tax deductions for tithing or church donations but offers generous charitable giving deductions.
LDS Charities Australia, based in Sydney, has seen an increase in its usage in recent years. Although it had received $90 million in donations in 2021, this figure dropped to $30 million in 2022 after the charity’s tax practices were scrutinized in April of that year.