Mormon critics challenge church’s tax-exempt status

A complaint compiled by critics of the Mormon church is on display at a news conference in Honolulu on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Mormon critics are asking the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to investigate allegations that the church uses a Hawaii cultural center to commit tax fraud. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)

HONOLULU (AP) — Mormon critics are asking the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to investigate allegations that the church uses a Hawaii cultural center to commit tax fraud.

Gay-rights activist and Mormon critic Fred Karger delivered a complaint to a Honolulu IRS office Thursday asking for an investigation into possible tax abuses involving the Polynesian Cultural Center, Brigham Young University-Hawaii and a Hawaii land management company.

Gay-rights activist and Mormon critic Fred Karger stands outside the Federal Building in Honolulu on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, where his group filed a complaint against the Mormon church with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Mormon critics are asking the IRS to investigate allegations that the church uses a Hawaii cultural center to commit tax fraud. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)

The complaint comes after Mormon critics aired television ads last year seeking information that could harm the church’s tax-exempt status.

A church spokesman declined to comment. An IRS spokeswoman says the agency doesn’t comment on taxpayer cases and doesn’t confirm whether there’s an investigation.

Karger says it’s unlikely the tax-exempt status will be revoked, but he hopes the attention forces changes. He’s also seeking investigations from other government agencies.

The Utah-based church has 16 million members worldwide, including 74,000 in Hawaii.

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1 Comment

  • Paul Lauscher August 18, 2018 at 9:22 am Reply

    I do believe the IDS are not paying taxes on profits they make on their dessert industries the prices they ask for the donated items are very close to brand new prices when I asked a supervisor why the high cost he said they had to make a profit I then asked if they pay taxes on that he just walked away

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