The Mormon Church is significantly reducing its use of a controversial shell company after an investigation revealed it had engaged in alleged serious tax evasion in Australia.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, set up a tax structure in 2012 that allowed its adherents in Australia to accumulate exemptions worth hundreds of millions of dollars that are not lawfully available to followers of other religions.
Former Mormon Dr Simon Southerton says he hopes the latest development marks the beginning of a regulatory crackdown.
The investigation by this masthead in April 2022 found some of its tax activities could be in breach of Australian tax laws.
Now the Latter-day Saints church, which has repeatedly said it complies with tax laws, has moved to unwind the tax structure.
In Australia, the church has ensured that donations and tithing – neither of which are tax-deductible – are routed through a charitable trust to gain 100 per cent tax deductibility.
Mormons are required to pay 10 per cent of their gross income in an income-deducting practice known as tithing, a significant financial impost on followers. »