Should The Mormon Church Pay Taxes?

Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) committing tax fraud by hiding its global business empire, massive financial holdings and worldwide political machine behind the mask of religion?
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Help Us Collect Evidence to File an IRS Complaint

Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) committing tax fraud by hiding its global business empire, massive financial holdings and worldwide political machine behind the mask of religion? It's a fair question and a question of fairness. As Pope Francis recently pointed out, if a Church becomes more about making money than fulfilling its religious function, "Then pay taxes! Otherwise it is not fair business."

Mormon Church, Inc.

The $1 trillion Mormon Church receives somewhere between $8 and $20 billion each and every year from its 15 million members around the world. These funds come from a mandatory, minimum 10% tithing of each member's gross income. On top of the billions of dollars in tithing, the Mormon Church receives billions more each year through donations to Temple building funds, Sunday Fast Offerings, bequeathed money and property, gifts of all types and personal property. These donations are all legally tax-deductible for Church members, but then the Mormon Church turns around and invests all these billions of dollars and uses it in politics and lobbying.

The Mormon Church also earns untold billions of dollars more each year from profits on its vast real estate holdings, banking, life insurance companies, law firms, its media empire, farms and ranches, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and the list goes on and on and on.

The Mormon Church's massive global business holdings are run as tax-free enterprises owned outright by the Church. Thus, the Mormon Church does not likely pay any federal, state or local taxes on all of its income and profits. The Mormon Church does not have to file a 990 IRS tax return like other charities, because of the religious exemption. There is absolutely no transparency from the Mormon Church.

Churches Must File Tax Returns in Some Countries

Certain countries require the Mormon Church to report its finances like Canada or the Great Britain. These filings give us a slight glimpse into Mormon Church finances.

In this country, 501(c)3s religious organizations are currently tax-exempt by the IRS and do not pay taxes. There are, however, limits imposed on the type of activities that churches can engage in and maintain their tax-exempt status. It appears that the Mormon Church continually crosses that line.

The Mormon Church - Political Machine

The Mormon Church is a constant backroom player in federal, state and local lobbying and even in election and legislative politics. All of the Church's political involvement is carried out by its 180-person Public Affairs Department based in its World Headquarters in Salt Lake City.

We first got a glimpse of just how political the Church is when I discovered all the Mormon money pouring into pass California's Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban back in 2008. The Church did not report the over $200,000 it spent. It never acknowledged the roughly $30 million its members gave to pass Prop 8 at the Church's behest. When I saw all the Mormon money pouring into the Yes on Prop 8 campaign I gave the information to the Wall Street Journal which broke the story.

Mormon Church Investigated and Pleaded Guilty to Election Fraud

After the election, I filed a sworn complaint against the Mormon Church with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) - the state's ethics office. As a result of my complaint, the Mormon Church was prosecuted, investigated for 18 months and found guilty on 13 counts of election fraud. The Mormon Church pleaded guilty to all charges and paid a hefty fine. The result, hundreds of subpoenaed documents that showed just how the Mormon Church operates in politics, including having 75 Salt Lake City based Church employees working on the campaign.

Secret Mormon Documents Exposed

In February 2009 I was given boxes of leaked Mormon Church documents that detailed the exact extent of the Church's involvement in at least 26 anti-gay marriage campaigns and legislative battles across the country. These leaked Church documents revealed that the Mormon Church's involvement went all the way back to the first anti-gay marriage battle in Hawaii in 1995.

And it turns out that 16 years ago the Mormon Church secretly wrote and financed California's Proposition 22 campaign, which first banned gay marriage in the nation's largest state. Church leaders then used it as a playbook for financing and running anti-gay marriage campaigns all over the country during the eight years to follow. The Mormon Church's massive involvement in politics was hidden until Church whistle-blowers came forward.

Recently 15 leaked videos came to light. They show former United States Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) bragging during a presentation to Mormon Church Apostles about how he was able to get 200 two year Visas from the Indian Ambassador for Mormon Missionaries heading to India, in an apparent violation of federal law.

Real World Consequences - LGBT Teen Suicides

On November 5, 2015, via another leaked Church document, the world found out that the LDS Church had a brand new extreme anti-LGBT policy which just 3 weeks later was declared a revelation after all the bad publicity, meaning it came directly from God. This new Church Policy banned same-sex married couples from the Church. It also states that the children of same-sex married couples cannot be blessed or baptized until they are 18 years old. Once they become 18, they must denounce their parent's sexual orientation if they want to join the Mormon Church. In other words, at 18 years old kids are forced to choose between the parents who raised them and the Mormon Church.

This horrendous new "Policy" prompted a mass exodus of members and a reported 68 Mormon teen suicides during the past 13 months.

We Need Your Help to Hold the Mormon Church Accountable

Since our founding in 2008 to oppose California's Proposition 8, Rights Equal Rights (formerly Californians Against Hate), has long been at the vanguard of fighting for truth and transparency.
Through our new project, we are asking for your help by letting us know of any potential business or political abuses committed by the Mormon Church which might be considered violations of their tax exempt status.

It's Easy to Help

Send us an email to
Call us at (385) 236-3131

All tips will be treated confidentially. If we are able to collect enough evidence of possible IRS violations, these tips along with our own research will be used to file a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against the Mormon Church.

We have taken several successful actions against the Mormon Church before. This was accomplished because of the excellent information that we received from Mormon Church members, former Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

The Salt Lake Tribune recently did a big front page story on our effort.

As we undertake the biggest, loudest and most comprehensive IRS challenge to a Church's tax-exempt status in history, we will keep you posted on what we uncover.

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