London Rates Relief Based Talk

Discussion in 'Scientology Property Tax' started by Bluebell, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. RolandRB Member

    Note that NO mandatory or discretionary rates relief is given for 68 Tottenham Court Road (the Martian Embassy) in the London Borough of Camden.

    New updates for the request '68 Tottenham Court Rd - Scientology rates exemption?'

    Camden Borough Council sent a response to William Thackeray (13 January 2011)

    "Dear Mr Thackeray, Please find attached our response to yourrequests made under the Freedom of Information Act. I await your further corresp..."
  2. RolandRB Member

    This is the tipping point. This little snippet of news should tip Sunderland to change their minds where it has been in the balance for a while and once they actually REVERSE their decision and with London Borough of Camden having given a clear refusal plus East Grinstead refusing it in 1999 then the CoLCorp are going to be back in the firing line in a Very Big Way. We will be able to put huge public pressure on them. They will fold towards the end of 2011 and then Westminster will fold and then assuming no dickhead laws are passed to grant them exemption because of religious worship then we have them. It will cost them way too much to carry on business in the UK. They will have to sell 146 QVS in order to survive and the repercussions in the organisation will drive even more people out and they will have to move back to that shithole on 68 TCR and NOT get tax relief on it and they might as well pack up their bags and go back to America where they belong.

    I will prepare the next CoLCorp attack plan in a bit. Now, I think I will go out and celebrate. :)
  3. RolandRB Member

    This is from the 68 Tottenham Court Road FOI request answer:
    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. RolandRB Member

    General Mudkips left me a note on the table "Alles OK for this year". That's all. At least his German is better than mine. I gather from the note that the meeting in Stuttgart went well and the funding is all sorted out for Anonymous for 2011 so the checks should be in the post as expected. And I hope he has sorted out the bonus "gifts" for all of us in the form of prozac/paroxetine or whatever was your poison you asked Santa for last year.

    Although it is an honour to have him staying in my guest room (the same as it is an honour for me to host all the other leaders of Anonymous from time to time), I would be grateful if somebody who knows him personally can "have a word". I hear the key in the lock this morning about 3am and the giggles outside the door as he tries to work out the lock. He finally gets in (more giggles) and crashes out. Here I am this evening and I don't know where he is - no note. I check in my office draw and there is yet another polaroid print of him standing naked with another man in some bar or club someplace, his bald head showing a reflection of the ceiling light with this huge guy next to him both stark bollock naked. Where does he find these guys? Where do the other leaders of Anonymous find these guys? There are no gay men in Biberach as far as I know and no gay bars or clubs. Does he just start up a conversation with a guy in his good German and win a bet or something whereby he gives his fold-away polaroid camera to the bar lady who takes the photo?

    What if any of this came out? What if one of those photos got into the hands of somebody else and his wife or two teenage daughters got to see it? That would be the end of him and the blow to Anonymous might be catastrophic. It could mean the end of Anonymous and the public outrage that would descend on Anonymous would ruin their reputation and the Church of Scientology would be seen as the Saviours of Mankind compared to them. People would flock into the Ideal Orgs for an explanation and planetary Clearing would be a mere formality.

    It's got me worried!

    Good news is that nobody is watching this place (I checked carefully this evening) so despite General Mudkips' indiscretions - our movement is still safe.
  6. Anonymous Member

  7. RolandRB Member

    That last part d) - do we have a copy of that letter? This is important because they are referring to COSRECI directly.
  8. RolandRB Member

    Before I give an update on this whole thing, I STILL need that letter. This is IMPORTANT !!

    Now for the update. This is being worked on behind the scenes. I am shifting the emphasis to the workings of local government and helping local councillors better represent the views of their constituents. It won't be me contacting councils directly any more. In the future, it will be local councillors doing their stuff at their full council meetings. I see it working this way. I don't see the judicial review approach working nor my own direct approaches to local councils. The reason is that I feel this is a hot political potato so the best way to exploit this is to help local councillors on this particular election issue by providing them with the right sort of information and answering any questions they have about this organisation accurately and promptly.

    I noticed mention somewhere that a full years notice needs to be given for the removal of mandatory or discretionary rates relief. That makes sense but it also means that we are not going to see results come quickly. I believe that the mandatory and discretionary rates relief in Sunderland and Birmingham will be withdrawn some time in the future and then we can work out a way to exert more pressure on Westminster and the CoLCorp for the removal of rates relief there. I am sure that will eventually be achieved but as for CoLCorp that could be as much as seven years in the future.

    What MIGHT happen in the meantime is that there is a legal change to the definition of a "charity" as applied to the local government sector. For centrally collected taxes, there is a new definition in schedule 6 of the Finance Act 2010 that applies and of that same definition is adopted for local government then the charity would have to be a registered charity in the EU and some other Scandinavian states. This would disqualify COSRECI but of course it might get replaced by a charitable Scientology organisation based in Bulgaria or whatever and we might need to pull in people from that country to help.

    So be assured that things are slowly progressing behind the scenes but you won't see much happen here.
  9. jensting Member

    Excellent work, Messieurs Thackeray and Rashleigh-Berry!

    I just wanted to leave this here:

    Oooh. That sounds almost like its misleading with the intention of avoiding paying tax. What do they call that sort of thing in England?

    Best Regards

  10. RolandRB Member

    They are being slippery rather than outright lying although one could say with some justification that it could be an attempt to deceive. Their claim to being a charity is that their Articles of Association fit into one of the Heads of Charity definitions that is still in use in Australia.

    PS: It has not been just RRB and WT involved in this. Others have made a significant contribution.
  11. RolandRB Member

  12. jensting Member

    Of course - my bad! My hat come off for all of you. (And you know I'm not just saying that...)

    Best Regards

  13. RolandRB Member

    The success or otherwise of Ideal Orgs in the UK rests with the performance of the main place at QVS so I am wondering how much activity is going on there.
  14. Anonymous Member

    From a letter to Roland back in November 2010:
    Did we miss a trick here? They moved the Celeb Centre to 79 New Cavendish Street, London, W1W 6XB as far as I can tell, and WT submitted a query for that property - but in August 2010. The answer, on 1st September 2010, was that no application for relief had been submitted.

    Given the date of the letter above, is it possible the request was too early?

    Unless I've missed something important, I think we need to ask again:
    still not submitted = win;
    submitted and refused = definite win;
    submitted and granted = given charity relief post-Pickles = potential shitstorm.
  15. Anonymous Member

    ^ anyone with a WDTK account able to take care of the above? If not I'll get round to it, I just want to avoid duplicating requests.

    If it's not clear what the point is, I think it's highly likely that CoS has applied for rate relief since the last FOI request, as at that time they'd just moved to the site.

    This is a particularly good property to ask about because it's a celebrity centre, and if it's getting charitable relief it's at a time when many legitimate UK charities are struggling: see Charities fight for survival as funding slashed across country.
  16. Anonymous Member

    go for it
  17. Anonymous Member

    • Like Like x 1
  18. RolandRB Member

    At the end of the day, the CoLCorp knows that the government will not lift a finger to help them if they get into a legal fight over this rates relief and they will have to find the funds from the few domestic ratepayers in the borough. If they lose it will be a financial disaster. So "later this year" they will decide to continue to give rates relief. Only a change in the law will solve it.
  19. Anonymous Member

  20. RolandRB Member

    I am wondering how much activity there is at 146 Queen Victoria Street. I heard there were a lot of people taking courses but all of them staff and Sea Org. I am wondering if they have any real public there handing over the cash for auditing.
  21. RolandRB Member

    I don't think that any more (at the moment).

    The CoLCorp have to obey the law and that says COSRECI must be established for charitable purposes and also be under the control of the UK courts. Central government tells them that "established for charitable purposes" is enough, ignoring the "AND" part and ignorant of the Dreyfus judgment. But the CC had already written to Camden and said that they do not consider that they are established for charitable purposes. This has nothing to do with the jurisdiction. I other words they do not accept at face value what is on their charter but judge this on what they do and what their purpose is. The CC says "no" based on two years work and a raft of case law. CoLCorp says "yes" looking at the wording of their charter plus some contrived visit to the premises.

    All the CoLCorp has to do is to reverse the decision based on the two points. The first, the jurisdiction issue and the second that the CC does not consider that they are established for charitable purposes. That way they would be obeying the law and have a huge amount of case law to back it up.

    If COSRECI were to take legal action to reinstate their rates relief then the CoLCorp can't be blamed for the "established for charitable purposes" wording of the law. COSRECI would have to take the government to court due to the inclusion of this condition in the law.
  22. I agree with you that City of London should grow some balls and stand up for themselves, but the problem raised before their Finance Committee is this:

    Even if the City of London has a good case, legally, and it wins that case, there would still be non-recoverable costs. I.e. they would still lose out financially even if they win the case.

    Personally I think their decision should be based on whether or not COSREC is genuinely charitable - rather than how litigous they are - but that's CoL's thought process.

    If the Aussie government goes ahead and takes a few million away from COSREC in back-pay for unpaid workers, maybe City of London would be more willing to stand up to a less wealthy COSREC.
  23. RolandRB Member

    I think it is easier than that and would not incur them costs. Just refuse to extend the rates relief one year on the ground that after consultation they are of the view that COSRECI is not "established for charitable purposes" quoting the CC decision and their letter of 24 Nov 2009. Forget the jurisdiction thing. Then COSRECI would have to prove they were "established for charitable purposes" and case law is against them so they won't even try.

    COSRECI could make a case that the law is slanted against them and in effect puts a tax on their religion but that is not the concern of the CoLCorp.

    I don't see the CoLCorp having to fork out much and they can not lose.
  24. My suspicion is that at the meeting where City of London met Peter Hodkin and Massimo, PH & M threatened/hinted that Scientology would challenge CoL in court no matter what the merits of the case.

    This would not be an illogical or unexpected strategy for them to use.
  25. RolandRB Member

    But there they claimed that they had not gotten around to asking for rates relief on their headquarters when in fact they had in 1999 and had been turned down. And Camden turned them down as we know. So it is an easy job now for the CoLCorp.
  26. Well, if you can convince them of that then I'll be as happy as this.
  27. DeathHamster Member

    Later this year, in the fullness of time, at the proper juncture...
    • Like Like x 1
  28. Rome wasn't built in a day.
  29. RolandRB Member

    I wish they would get into contact with the CC and sort this out. The CC obviously have a strong case to say COSREC(i) are not establshed for charitable purposes and the CoLCorp just has to agree with it and take the rates relief away. If it goes to the High Court it will be COSRECI vs. the government because of the way the law is worded. The CoLCorp can not be blamed for following the law.
  30. RolandRB Member

    I wonder if I need to write a guide to the full CC decision so that people can understand it and why CoS can never be a charity in England or Wales.
  31. RolandRB Member

    Another fear the CoLCorp might have had is COSRECi pursuing the line that there are a religion so they should pay no property tax on the building they use to worship in but again that is between the Registrar and them and nothing to do with CoLCorp powers of decision-making.

    The decision-making powers of the CoLCorp are very limited when it comes to granting mandatory rates relief. The only thing they should have considiered is this one point about COSRECi being "established for charitable purposes" because of the wording of the law and they ignored the lengthy work done by the CC in consulting case law with their experts and they looked no further than the written charter that says it was established for charitable purposes.

    The CoLCorp are taking away 270K GBP out of peoples' pockets each year.

    Of course, they could give discretionary relief if they wanted but at least they would have to think about it and monitor the situation. And right now hardly any public goes into that huge building so that should give them a clue.
  32. Anonymous Member

  33. TinyDancer Member

    William Thackeray, please PM me. Thanks.
  34. xenubarb Member

    Yes. You did the wonderful Xenu flier, but what have you done for us lately?
  35. RolandRB Member

    I did the Business Rates document. That took me three months.
  36. RolandRB Member

    The CoLCorp thing is not dead yet. Eric Pickles himself might look into this. It's a good result even though not much might happen at this stage. Even if they were determined to change the law regarding the eligibility for mandatory rates relief to make sure only registered charities get it it would take a few years. The best we could hope for is some sort of statement that they will look into changing the law. Then we sit back and eat popcorn for the next five years.

    If it gets swept aside then writing to one's constituency MP is still a good thing to try.
  37. All the pieces matter.
  38. RolandRB Member

    If I get the impression that this absurdity in the law will be looked into critically then I might slink back into obscurity and go back to treating this forum as light entertainment when the TV programmes are no bloody good (as is often the case) and I have run out of new DVDs.

    I only care about Scientology in the UK. If their London Ideal Org loses their mandatory rates relief then they will never be a force again ever in the UK. My work will be done if that happens and I have other things I can more productively do.
  39. Sponge Member

    The Morton Report:

  40. AnonyVix Member

    I didn't get the impression that the Blairs lobbied the local councils rather that the scilons did and that it was more effective than their lobbying of the Blairs.

    I know from conversations with various council officials off the record that the scilons do phone up often from the USA trying to make deals to get their way and yes they do throw money at them. Not all of the cave so easily thankfully.

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