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NO mandatory or discretionary rates relief for 68 Tottenham Court Road

Discussion in 'Scientology Property Tax' started by RolandRB, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. RolandRB Member

    Just to stress that Camden turned down two applications for rates relief - one for mandatory rates relief and the other for discretionary rates relief. Most of us thought they had rates relief there but as it turned out, they had not. This can be used to exert pressure on other local authorities to remove rates relief. Removing it is harder than not giving it to start with and we need to use all the pressure we can.

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/68_tottenham_court_rd_scientolog#incoming-140596

    Date: Thursday, 13 January 2011

    Ref: RFI6511284 & RFI6557079

    Dear Mr Thackeray,

    FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST


    I am writing to you concerning your recent Freedom of information requests, which were concerning the following:

    6511284
    In respect of the following property:

    68 Tottenham Court Road
    W1T 2EZ

    please provide details of any application for mandatory or
    discretionary relief from non-domestic rates which has been made
    (or which continues to apply) at any time over the past 5 years.

    If such an application has been made, please provide:

    - a copy of the application and all documents supplied in support
    of it.

    - the Council's decision whether or not to apply the relief, and
    the reasons behind that decision.

    - any other information held (including but not limited to internal
    and external correspondence and email, agenda, minutes and phone
    records) concerning the application and the decision.


    6557079
    In respect of the following property:

    37 Fitzroy Street
    London, W1T 6DX

    please provide details of any application for mandatory or discretionary relief from non-domestic rates which has been made (or which continues to apply) at any time over the past 5 years.

    If such an application has been made, please provide:
    - a copy of the application and all documents supplied in support of it.
    - the Council's decision whether or not to apply the relief, and the reasons behind that decision.
    - any other information held (including but not limited to internal and external correspondence and email, agenda, minutes and phone records) concerning the application and the decision.

    Please provide the information in electronic format.


    After consultation with the Information Commissioner, it has been decided that the following points of your request need to be address by the London Borough of Camden:

    1) Details of any application for mandatory or discretionary relief from non domestic rates which has been made (or which continues to apply) at any time over the past 5 years.
    2) If such an application has been made, a copy of the application and all documents supplied in support of it.
    3) The council’s decision whether or not to apply the relief and the reasons behind that decision.
    4) Any other information held (including but no limited to internal
    5) and external correspondence and email, agenda, minutes and phone records) concerning the application and the decision.

    Please find my responses relating to both mandatory and discretionary relief from non domestic rates below:

    Mandatory Rate Relief Application

    1. COSRECI made an application to the London Borough of Camden for Mandatory Rate Relief as a Charity on the 16th February 2007.

    2. Copy of the application and documents supplied in support of it attached.

    3. The Council does not apply mandatory rate relief to COSRECI. The reasons it does not apply are as follows;

    (a) COSRECI does not meet the criteria of being established for charitable purposes as it does not meet the jurisdictional requirement.

    (b) COSRECI does not meet the criteria for a charity established for the advancement of religion (worship of a supreme being)

    (c) Even if COSRECI were to be considered to be for the advancement of religion under the Charities Act 2006 (which is not accepted by the London Borough Camden), the requirement of Public Benefit is not satisfied because;

    a. The benefits are focused on Scientology adherents – the core activities of auditing are private benefits concentrated on adherents.
    b. Any benefit to the Community is incidental to the private benefit derived by adherents.
    c. Donations are a general requirement for the auditing that is the core activity of the College.

    (d) The Charities Commission letter dated 24th November 2009 confirmed that “It remains the view of the Charity Commission that the Church of Scientology is not established for charitable purposes or for the public benefit and is therefore ineligible for registration as a charity under the Charities Act 1993. The Commission maintain the same view about COSRECI. The decision of the Commission made in 1999 remains valid.”

    4. The London Borough of Camden believes that this request is too broad and we wish to know what specific information and from whom is required? As to comply with this question would require 3 different departments to perform a search of both electronic and hard copy materials and would equate to more than the 18 hour limit set by the Act.

    5. Please see response to question above.

    Discretionary Rate Relief

    1. COSRECI made an application to the London Borough of Camden for discretionary rate relief just prior to the beginning of the Financial Year of 2008.

    2. Camden’s Regeneration and Partnerships section deals with discretionary rate relief. The electronic folder in which the information relating to COSRECI is stored became corrupt and since it has been repaired that team have not been in a position to locate any documentation relating to the application or any documents supplied in support of it.

    3. The Council does not apply discretionary rate relief to COSRECI. The reason it does not apply discretionary rate relief is that COSRECI does not meet the London Borough of Camden’s criteria, for the following reason:

    · COSRECI has a London-wide or national remit and does not solely or even primarily serve London Borough of Camden residents. Therefore it was not eligible for discretionary relief.

    4. The London Borough of Camden believes that this request is too broad and we wish to know what specific information and from whom is required? As to comply with this question would require 3 different departments to perform a search of both electronic and hard copy materials and would equate to more than the 18 hour limit set by the Act.

    5. Please see response to question above.

    I apologise that it was not brought to your attention prior to this correspondence that it would take over 18 hours to supply other information that is held concerning the application and the decision. This issue did not become apparent until my involvement with the Information Commissioners Office and my investigations that I carried out as part of my involvement. I am hopeful that we can assist you in obtaining the information that you seek and to that end I will await your further response.

    Yours sincerely

    Michael Warby
    Access to Information Officer
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Incredulicide Member

    Fantastic news!
    That 18 hour limit is worth attempting to precalculate in future FOI requests
  3. CarterUSP Member

    Great work!
  4. RolandRB Member

    We need a copy of this letter:

    (d) The Charities Commission letter dated 24th November 2009 confirmed that “It remains the view of the Charity Commission that the Church of Scientology is not established for charitable purposes or for the public benefit and is therefore ineligible for registration as a charity under the Charities Act 1993. The Commission maintain the same view about COSRECI. The decision of the Commission made in 1999 remains valid.”
  5. RolandRB Member

    Using the following web site and the above postal codes:
    http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/en/basic/find

    We have rateable values of 112,000 GBP for 68 TCR and 69,000 GBP for 37 FS which with business rates multiplier of 0.414 means they pay 46,368 GBP per year for 68 TCR and 28,566 GBP per year for 37 FS. That's less than what the chumps pay for making two Clears but these days there is nobody buying. That's got to hurt. But it is 146 QVS that will make a difference.
  6. Ann O'Nymous Member

  7. RolandRB Member

    If you look up 146 Queen Victoria Street EC4V 4BY then their rateable value is £810,000 so applying the 0.414 business rates multiplier then they would have to pay £335,340 per year which is not possible for them. But they get 80% mandatory relief (which they should not be getting as they are not a charity under the jurisdiction of UK courts) so they pay £67,068 per year which they can manage well enough. Just Clear two paying chumps and they have £82,000 to cover it. But to pay the full rates they would have to Clear nine chumps per year and that isn't going to happen. They may be hoping for better times ahead but all their members will have gone into debt to buy the Org and furnish it so they can get no more money from them and the newbies won't be indoctrinated enough to be heavily regged so they need to look about 5-10 years down the line before their fortunes turn around and they get a fresh trickle of rich chumps joining up. But there is too much stuff out there on the Internet to find enough chumps for this. If we can get the rates relief decision reversed then that place is finished as an Org.
  8. RolandRB Member

    As for Saint Hill Manor and grounds then their post code is RH19 4JU and they have a rateable value of £228,000 per year so applying the 0.414 business rates multiplier then that is £94,392 a year but it is part residential so let us assume £80,000 per year but you have these people doing their OT levels there spending £10,000 per year so they would only need 8 people a year to cover it and for sure they get a lot more than that. That place will be making a good profit and paying the business rates of the other Orgs but they will still not be making enough to cover full rates on 146 QVS.

    So that is the main target. We may have to wait for Birmingham and Sunderland to change their minds before we can crack 146 QVS. Judicial Review is a difficult route to take.
  9. afternon Member

    Top work RolandRB, squeezing the cult at both ends- nulling their recruitment of new rich and gullible members as well as ensuring they pay proper taxes for their business is going to do them in. Add the cost of the new idle org upkeep and repair and the cult are on a slippery slope.
  10. RolandRB Member

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/enquiries_from_local_authorities

    06 NOV 2009

    Re: The Church of Scientology Religious Education College lnc.

    I am writing in respect of query arising out of a Non-Domestic Rating matter. An organisation, The Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc ("the College") have a number of premises within the London Borough of Camden. They are not a registered charity. They are seeking to have mandatory rate relief applied to their premises on the basis that, although not a registered charity, they say they fulfil the relevant legislative criteria for relief.

    We have been in continued correspondence with the College for over one year, working through the large number of documents they have sent to support their claim. During this time we have suggested to the College that it would be in their interest to register with the Charity Commission (and therefore clarify their claim for mandatory rate relief). This is because the College have made representations that they are subject to the jurisdiction of the English High Court, and further that they are a Charity. The London Borough of Camden understands that as such it would seen that the College is under a statutory duty to be registered in the register of charities under section 3A(1) of the Charities Act 1993, because the College confirm that they are established for charitable purposes only, and fall to be subject to the control of the High Court, and are thus, a charity.

    The College has a substantial annual turnover and as such the London Borough of Camden cannot see that the College would be exempt under any of the subsections of 3A. Section 38(1) (Duties of trustees in connection with registration) makes clear that where a charity is required to be registered by virtue of section 3A(1), and it is not registered, it is the duty of the charity trustees to apply to the Commission for the charity to be registered, and to supply the Commission with the required documents and information.

    Having spoken to the Legal representatives of the College they have stated that they are not required to be registered with the Charity Commission because they, as an organisation, are incorporated in Australia. Indeed they state that the Charities Commission informed the College that they could not be registered because of that (I have since clarified with the Registration Division of the Charities Commission that there is no record of this advice having been given).

    We have concerns that the College are using their governing document as a means of circumventing the need to register with the Charity Commission, whilst at the same time enjoying the benefits of charitable reliefs, for example from various other boroughs in the form of mandatory rate relief, and also I understand from HM Revenue & Customs from whom they are entitled to certain other tax reliefs.

    I have reviewed the College's incorporation document, and while it shows they are indeed incorporated abroad, I can confirm that it makes no reference to the laws of South Australia in its governance, other than at Article XI where it states that the college shall have a seal that "meets the requirements of the provisions of the Associations Incorporations Act 1956-1965 or any other laws of the State of South Australia applicable from time to time." All other references in the governing document to 'laws' are to laws in general, and are not further defined as being State of South Australia Laws or any other jurisdiction.

    My view is that they appear to fulfil all of the legislatory criteria for registration, and I am not able to find anything in the legislation that would preclude an organisation primarily based in the UK from registering. As I understand it, the majority of charity trustees live in England and Wales, and the majority of assets are in England and Wales too.

    Can the College therefore be directed to make an application if they are passing themselves off as a Charity but are not registered?

    I have included a letter from the Solicitors representing the College where they assert that they are subject to the laws of England and Wales, and that they are a Charity (They further state that the College derives all of its income from the United Kingdom, carries on all of its activities in the
    United Kingdom, and its central management and control is in England). This letter is dated the 29th August 2009, but it is the position that they maintain, and has been confirmed as such in telephone discussions with Hodkin & Company. Also enclosed is their incorporation document. I
    apologise that I have had to include this as it is such a lengthy document, however it clearly shows that they are not deemed to be governed by the laws of South Australia for any other purpose than their business seal.

    Further, on a separate note, if an organisation failed to register in line with the legislation, what enforcement action (if any) would be taken against them?

    Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

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