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Press Release

SWEDISH TAX AUTHORITIES GRANT FULL EXEMPTION TO CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY


Tax authorities in Sweden have granted the Church of Scientology exemption from all taxes on the basis that the Church is a nonprofit organization with a religious purpose. In a decision of November 23, 1999, the tax office in Stockholm adjudicated that the Church is an idealistic association providing a public benefit and therefore exempt from corporate income tax and value added tax.

In the written background to the decision, which arose out of a past tax matter relating to the Swedish Church, the ruling from the tax authorities refers to the Church’s activities as “consist[ing] of, among other things, worship, services such as baptism, marriages and funerals, spiritual counselling and study of the Church’s scripture.” The Church’s economic activity, the tax authorities found, forms a natural part of its publicly beneficial purpose, and the Church falls within the tax code which exempts associations whose purpose is to forward religious objectives.

President of the Church of Scientology International, Heber C. Jentzsch, acclaimed the decision as further evidence that the Church is part of mainstream religion in Europe.

“The Swedish people recognize that religious pluralism is the foundation of the stable societies we must build in the next century. In the field of religious freedom, Sweden is leading the rest of Europe into the new millenium, and upholding the governmental separation of church and state,” said Rev. Jentzsch.

The adjudication by the Swedish tax authorities is consistent with tax authorities’ decisions on Scientology in the United States, Australia, and Venezuela and a recent ruling by the Supreme Federal Administrative Court in Germany and the Italian Supreme Court. Earlier this month, the Administrative court in Stuttgart held that the Church of Scientology is an idealistic organization whose members are seeking salvation.

The Swedish Church of Scientology has for a number of years been seeking to persuade the Swedish tax authorities of its status as a bona fide religious community. That effort has now been crowned with success days after the Church celebrated its 30th anniversary in Sweden. Scientologists in Sweden therefore welcomed the news as a “birthday present” from the government.

“We look forward to the year 2,000 with great hope and confidence as well as determination to contribute towards a better society,” said Tarja Vulto, Public Relations Director of the Church of Scientology in Sweden.

Scientology was founded by philosopher and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard in 1954. As part of its social mission the Church supports many charitable and social programs in the areas of drug rehabilitation, criminal reform and literacy programs.




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