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Is COSRECI eligible to be registered as a charity in the UK?

Discussion in 'Scientology Property Tax' started by RolandRB, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. RolandRB Member

    Yes, that was it. Shit, I missed it. I have now withdrawn my FOI request.
    I see. So how come we don't get much out of Sunderland?
  2. TinyDancer Member

  3. Anonymous Member

    doh!

    you're thinking of legal advice which Sunderland got themselves, from a lawyer directly?

    that would be covered by LPP.

    The LPP exemption is subject to a public interest test - if you can show that the public interest in the release of the information is greater than the public interest in withholding it, then they'd have to release the information - but, going by the Tribunal's decision in Thackeray v City of London, the Tribunal sees a very high public interest inherent in maintaining LPP - i.e. the public interest in disclosure would have to be really, really important, to get any information released in this way.
  4. Anonymous Member

    NB if Sunderland did forward advice from their lawyer to Camden, then we might be able to argue that, because the information was being transmitted from one local authority to another and not from lawyer to client, it wasn't covered by LPP. I.e. that by forwarding the information to Camden, Sunderland accidentally stripped it of LPP.
  5. RolandRB Member

    I am not aware that they forwarded it outside Sunderland council.
  6. DeathHamster Member

    The initial round. I wonder what loophole they used to claim educational? (A day at the racetrack is also educational in much the same way.)
    I guess "considering its position" = "sat on their ass".

    Of course COSRECI is nonprofitable! All the profit gets shipped offshore.
  7. RolandRB Member

    This thing posted above is very useful for getting rid of mandatory rates relief in the UK (page 2 email of 24 Nov 2009)

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/50365/response/133902/attach/3/20101216 FOI Response Information Disclosed.pdf

    They are specifically writing about COSRECI and they write "It remains the view of the Charity Commission that the Church of Scientology is not established for charitable purposes" and continue with "The Commission maintain the same view about the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc.". We have it in writing. The UK government has devolved responsibility to this Commission and what they say is like the government saying it. Just on the basis of this one email, any local authority could not be blamed or criticised for following this clear statement and therefore refusing or taking away mandatory rates relief from this "Church" because they have to be "established for charitable purposes" to qualify for mandatory rates relief and here is this quasi government department, set up and and supported by the government, saying that they are not "established for charitable purposes".

    Dear

    Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc

    I am writing further to your letter dated 4 th November 2009 regarding the above named college.

    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 the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc. The Decision of the Commission made in 1999 remains valid. Please find enclosed a full copy of the decision.

    If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me again on the address or telephone number stated above.

    Yours sincerely
  8. Anonymous Member

    We've been through all this though. CoL were aware of this letter and weren't convinced, as the finance committee report makes clear (see point 10). They felt a "decision to refuse relief only on this ground", i.e. the position of the Charity Commission, would be "susceptible to challenge."
  9. Anonymous Member

    Maybe making it more widely known and accepted that this actually IS the Charity Commission's position would be helpful though. I feel we need a kind of perfect storm of press encompassing this issue and the petition, COSRECI and Australia, and new interviews with Pickles/HMG, the Commission, local authorities, etc.
  10. RolandRB Member

    I see.

    Actually there was no new definition of religion in the Charities Act 2006 that the CC needed to address since the business about it having to be under the power of the courts came out of the Dreyfus case circa 1955. And the CC "view" is rather important as the CC is a devolved arm of the government. And Pickles has now told local authority to respect the decision made by the CC so it clearly has government backing.

    If it were "susceptible to challenge" then a challenge would have to focus on the authority of the CC not only to advise what was a charity but this would have repercussions for their work. Using the "CC does not know what it is doing" approach won't get the "Church" anywhere.
  11. RolandRB Member

    I think it needs to be pushed. It seems like the CoLCorp regards the CC view as merely advisory. It would be better if the situation could be clarified.
  12. Sponge Member

    This is what irks me. It is not really CoL's call to make IMO. They have a clear position from the charities commission and should abide by it rather than predicting what "challenges" may or may not occur to another body's ruling. In their worst case, even if in the unlikely event that scientology won a challenge then it would be a stretch to pin any liability on CoL, beyond reinstating rates relief, for making a "bad decision" when all they would be relying on is prior official definitions of scientology's status as a charity here in the UK. I suppose it is fine to be aware of possible challenges that *might* happen from some insanely batshit litigious organisation but to just give in to their own fears and proceed to hand out thousands of pounds because of that fear of a challenge to some other official body's decision is, on the face of it, just flat out stupid. Also the choice by CoL and Sunderland etc to completely ignore the fact that other councils that don't give scientology any rates relief and who have not been legally challenged, is flat out incompetent. I mean, that's the proof of the pudding isn't it? If scientology were ever going to litigate on rates relief decisions then they'd have done it for St.Hill Manor a very long time ago wouldn't they? But they haven't because they know that a) they'd fail outright and/or b) they'd have a whole host of unsavoury shit dragged out into the public domain.

    P.S. I originally mistyped rates relief as "rats relief". I should have left it since it is a fairly apt description under the circumstances.
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  13. Anonymous Member

    Agree completely, I wasn't trying to say CoL were right, it was just a reminder that they had actually seen and essentially disregarded the letter.

    I notice in the Commission's intelligence analysis (page 54 of their disclosure) they say:
    The "claims" being I think that the 1999 decision wasn't binding and that Charity Commission rulings aren't "persuasive" in a court of law. Do we know what if anything they did, other than reply to Camden Council? I appreciate they won't release legal advice, but if it hasn't been done maybe it'd be useful to follow up on their response to the cult.
  14. Anonymous Member

    The "claims" they're referring to would presumably cover the jurisdictional issue, as the letter they're referring to contained the CoS argument that they were established in England etc.
  15. RolandRB Member

    EXACTLY. Local authorities are STUPID and INCOMPETENT and they waste public money. THIS bloody proves it !!!!!
  16. RolandRB Member

    But the CC would be the ones to decide on that claim and they already have so why is the local authority assuming they have the responsibility to sort it out?
  17. RolandRB Member

    They did not go into any reasoning. They just restated their previously held opinion because nothing had changed since they turned down the application of the CoS E+W based on the activities of COSRECI. CoS E+W and COSRECI are the same thing to them for the purposes of failing in the test.
  18. Anonymous Member

    Yes I've misinterpreted the compliance officer's comments. I was wondering what else (if anything) they did apart from reply to Camden, but reading it again it's clear that they decided to do that rather than write to the cult.
  19. RolandRB Member

    Yes, it makes sense. There is no point arguing with the cult about whether they are established in the UK for charitable purposes or not due to their location since they had already decided that they were not "established for charitable purposes" for other reasons. And they made that judgment based on the work of COSRECI in any case so there was no point. The short email they sent was fully adequate for the understanding they wanted to convey.
  20. RolandRB Member

    It only applies to member states in the EU. It is about the free flow of money between member states. And it is to do with income tax which is a central government tax.
  21. RolandRB Member

    Does anyone know how this scenario would play out in the law courts.....

    CoLCorp tells COSRECI that they can no longer have rates relief because they were persuaded by the view of the CC and they stop it.

    COSRECI says it is not fair and they will take CoLCorp to court.

    It goes to court and the judge tells COSRECI to take a running jump.

    COSRECI appeal to the high court.....

    At this stage who are the two parties? Does CoLCorp have a high liability?
    -------
    Of course they could lose at the first stage and then they give COSRECI back their rates relief which would not hurt them, but this is unlikely.

    If it got to the appeal stage they could approach the government and tell them to help them financially otherwise they will have to fold and give COSRECI the rates relief.
  22. Anonymous Member

    No.

    Not wanting to sound facetious here, but the answer is that no, nobody knows how it would play out in the courts, because it's such an unusual (perhaps unique?) situation.

    Parties - COSREC v City of London

    Liability - costs plus the tax relief.

    City of London have already asked DCLG if they would back them legally/financially in court, were told no.

    Although I think they're wrong, I understand the reasoning behind City of London's decision.

    If they say 'yes' and grant rates relief (as they did) then they lose nothing, because the tax relief is made up from central government funds. (Actually they do lose a small amount in cross-rail subsidy, but it's peanuts).

    If they say 'no' and deny rates relief, then even if they're right and they win in court there's the possibility of quite major non-recoverable costs. I.e. they end up out of pocket to the tune of a couple of hundred thousand.

    I don't think they should be deciding based on these criteria - they should use the criterion of 'is the organisation genuinely charitable' - but based on these, purely financial, criteria, I can understand why they came to the decision they did. It's a bit craven, but then they have asked DCLG for help and it's left them swinging in the wind.
    • Like Like x 3
  23. RolandRB Member

    I think it would make a lot of sense for all charities in the UK to set up charitable organisation in Nigeria and switch their funds over to the new organisation and close down the present ones. If they are refused charitable rates relief then hire Carter-Fuck to drag it to the European Court of Human Rights to sue their arses. Nigeria are a little more flexible on how money donated to a charity can be spent. Fast cars, luxury homes and prostitutes are not out of the question so long as the governing officials can be convinced. Done this way there could be a revival of charities in the UK during these difficult financial times.
  24. Yeah - it's a definite loophole.

    I've been thinking about the petition - what the government should do, in fact, is amend the definition of 'charity' in the Local Government Finance Act so that it refers to the definition which has already been created in the Finance Act - which is a lot better and more rigorous, and doesn't allow foreign charities except from the EU and other specified countries which have their own equivalent of the Charity Commissioners.
    • Like Like x 1
  25. RolandRB Member

    Exactly. Unfortunately there are two sets of laws in the UK - one for central government and one for local government. It has been that way for hundreds of years and it isn't going to change any day soon.
  26. Anonymous Member

    Bear in mind though that no definition of charity would have prevented Birmingham City Council from granting 80% discretionary rate relief to the Birmingham Org from 1999 - 2011. For the benefits the Org took from this I'd refer to the article by ED Haydn James on Scientology-cult.com.

    Section 47 2(b) of the LGFA only requires them to be a non-profit and fulfill the relevant critera. They can grant relief if:
    The rejected Birmingham CoS application for 2011 (the only one we have) shows that they ticked the boxes for "wholly or mainly for charitable purposes", "philanthropic", "religious", "concerned with education" and "social welfare". And Haydn James' article suggests that previous applications were based on both religious and educational grounds, the latter following a site visit from councillors.

    The majority of the issues obviously relate to mandatory relief but I think it's important in discussion, 'poons, etc that we don't lose sight that discretionary rate relief is also a factor.
  27. RolandRB Member

    ^^^
    I don't mind discretionary rates relief. At least they have got to think long and hard about it. It's the mandatory relief that gets me with their tricksy arguments.

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