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 Churchs
activities as consist[ing] of, among other things, worship,
services such as baptism, marriages and funerals, spiritual
counselling and study of the Churchs scripture. The
Churchs 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
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
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