Religious Tax Exemptions
The AFA considers that it is inappropriate that the Charities Act 2013 makes it possible for religions to automatically receive “Charity” status and the ability to receive tax-deductible donations for the purpose of advancing religion (see https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2013A00100)
It is also inappropriate that religious organisations are allowed to run profit-making companies that pay no company tax. As such they may also gain a competitive advantage over other organisations. By way of example, Sanitarium Foods is a company that is wholly owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. According to a Financial Review article (1st of October 2017), in the year 2016/17, Sanitarium turned over $410 million in sales. The company’s website states that:
- As an organisation that operates as a charity, Sanitarium is exempt from company income tax. It pays other taxes that apply to Australian companies. For more information about the Charity Sector and taxation please visit www.acnc.gov.au
- All of Sanitarium’s profits are transferred to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia
According to revenue NSW, religious organisations may receive Land Tax exemptions. The benefit to the Seventh Day Adventist Church could be very significant indeed.