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Scientology takes on IRS

Title: Scientology takes on IRS
Date: Wednesday, 4 September 1991
Publisher: Wall Street Journal
Main source: link (34 KiB)

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The Church of Scientology, which is already bashing Time magazine in full-page salvos, has taken its long-running squabble with the Internal Revenue Service public, running full-page ads in USA Today to enlist anti-IRS allies.

An ad that ran yesterday shows a screaming young girl and carries the headline, "Don't you kill my Daddy!" Ad copy discusses a situation in which "a band of armed IRS agents" allegedly tried to choke an Idaho man, as well as other alleged IRS abuses.

Yesterday's ad also had a toll-free number and coupon for the National Coalition of IRS Whistleblowers, which claims to be an independent group but gets financial support from the Scientologists. The ad encourages readers to send for a booklet on "How to Protect Your Rights as a Tax-payer," published by the Church of Scientology. Similar ads are scheduled to run today and Friday, and others may run in the future.

The Scientologists reportedly have been the target of a massive IRS investigation for several years over the group's tax-exempt status. In 1989, the Supreme Court upheld an IRS decision that contributions to the Church of Scientology in exchange for so-called auditing and training services aren't tax deductible. An IRS spokeswoman didn't return several phone calls seeking comment on the agency's dispute with the group.

Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said the group currently has 80 lawsuits pending against the IRS. But he played down the Scientologists' own feud as a reason for the ads. "Their power has been unchecked for such a long time," he said. "It's an agency that really is out of control."