Today, David Nicholls, President of the Atheist Foundation of Australia gave evidence in support of tax breaks to charitable organisations operating within Australia, while calling for enhanced accountability.
“The AFA is strongly in favour of granting tax concessions to genuine charities that give assistance to combating poverty, illness and the problems of our aged citizens,” he said.
While a charity is a non-profit-making organisation, most organised religions today own corporations with vast reserves, and holdings in equities ranging from stock market shares to real estate and manufacturing with profits in the billions.
Unfortunately, it is common practise that only small amounts of these profits are ploughed back into charitable works, while the majority of tax-free revenue is used to increase assets, and simultaneously, religious influence.
At the hearing David Nicholls stated “The facts are damning. The estimated untaxed income of religions in 2009 was about 30 billion dollars. Australian taxpayers have to make up that shortfall.”
“The AFA demands that only the charitable arms of religions receive tax relief, but only if, like all secular charities, their books are open to inspection and auditing; they do not restrict their charity to their own adherents; and they abide by every provision of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights,” he said.
It is the opinion of the Atheist Foundation of Australia that blanket support of religions through tax breaks should cease, and the charitable arms of religions should only receive taxation concessions if they are accountable to the Australian public.
“The Atheist Foundation of Australia, along with all Australian taxpayers eagerly await the Government’s response to this important Inquiry.” Mr Nicholls said.
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
Private Mail Bag 6
MAITLAND SA 5573
Ph: (08) 8835 2269