England: The Church of Scientology loses business rates’ appeal for its Religious Education College

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by COS and NOI News, Aug 6, 2021.

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  1. England: The Church of Scientology loses business rates’ appeal for its Religious Education College Inc. based on argument that College is a place of worship


    Dunlop Heywood: The Church of Scientology loses business rates’ appeal

    6TH AUGUST 2021

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    The Church of Scientology has been testing the limits of business rate exemptions in its latest appeal at the ValuationTribunal for England (VTE)

    The religious group was trying to get its Religious Education College Inc. classed as a place of worship and then seek business rate exemptions under Paragraph 11 of Schedule 5 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

    The VTE President heard three appeals relating to premises in Tottenham Court Road and Queen Victoria Street in London and Deansgate, Manchester.

    The disputed issues were:

    1. Did the appeal properties comprise chapels which were places of public religious worship?

    2. If so, did the identified rooms qualify as similar buildings to a church hall?
    Without prejudice to the above, did the identified office areas qualify for exemption?

    The VTE President found against the Church in that none of the appeal buildings were places of public religious worship. He ascertained that from a physical viewpoint none of the buildings would give the ordinary passer-by the impression that they were places of public worship. In addition, there was no regular visible signage or advertisement of religious ceremonies to which ordinary members of the public could attend. He concluded the invitation test for places of religious worship wasn’t met.

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    The official decision:

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    Summary of decision

    The appeals were dismissed as none of the buildings contained a place of public religious worship. The legislation did not permit exemption to be awarded to offices regardless of location and use, on the basis that somewhere in England there was an exempt building.

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    The first two pages of the official decision:



    The last two pages of the official decision. The decision is dated 10 June 2021.



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  2. Incredulicide Member

    All he had to do was quietly walk into one of the "places of public worship" with a couple ex-members declared SPs and watch how uninviting the Scientologists can be when the cops are called about people "trespassing" on property that's no longer so public, and there goes any chances of exemption.
  3. Jon Atack now has the story on Tony Ortega's blog. He also does a much better job of summarizing the decision than Dunlop Heywood (the author of the original news story) did -- or quite frankly I did relying on Heywood's story.

    Scientology in England faces huge tax bills on its properties, and keeps failing to evade them

    By Jon Atack | August 12, 2021

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    In a recent blog post, Mike Rinder reports Scientology’s failure to obtain tax exemption for three of its buildings in England. On this side of the pond, an annual tax is paid on the ratable value of a building – whether domestic or commercial.

    Scientology applied for this property tax not to be levied on the grounds that these buildings are used for public worship. The Valuation Tribunal for England turned down the original application and has now rejected an appeal against that decision.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *

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