This is no short story for Dutch Scientologists. In 2013, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal recognized Scientology as a true religion and also recognized that its activities should be treated like any other religion in the Netherlands, i.e. as a public interest and tax exempt entity. Nevertheless, at that time, the tax authorities of the country challenged this decision and, while agreeing with the religious character of the Church of Scientology, did not apply the tax exemption, questioning the activities of the Church and its finances.
This has led to a thorough review of all finances and financial flows of the Church of Scientology in the Netherlands, as well as a full review of all its activities by the authorities. And boy, the exam lasted until today! This certainly makes it the most thorough examination that a religious entity has had to undergo to obtain official charitable status in the Netherlands.
And today, August 30, 2022, the IRS issued its decision: All activities of the Church of Scientology are to be considered beneficial to the general public. The tax office did not comment on the decision, but the Church of Scientology did. In a press release sent today, its Dutch director of public affairs expressed his gratitude to the Dutch authorities who “duly confirmed our religious activities and practices and our work towards the humanitarian objectives of Scientology as being in the public interest. and recalled that its founder L. Ron Hubbard set humanitarian goals for his Church from the start.
This is not the first time that the Church of Scientology has struggled to obtain either religious recognition or recognition of public utility. But it seems that each time they manage to get their point across. Spanish religious recognition, for example, was the result of a long fight, but the Spanish authorities finally complied with a decision of the Audiencia Nacional (national court of competence in Madrid) in 2007, and in 2015, a ministerial decision recognized that the promotion of the teachings and practices of Scientology is in the public interest. In 2013 it was the UK Supreme Court which recognized the Church of Scientology UK as a true religion and granted her the right to perform official marriages. In recent years, the Church has added several successes in terms of recognition, such as in Mexico (a very Catholic country), Colombia and North Macedonia. These recent recognitions are in addition to the many dozens of recognitions the Church has earned since its inception in the 1950s.
The Netherlands, a FoRB country
The Netherlands is generally considered to be a fairly good country in terms of respecting freedom of religion or belief (FoRB). And not only does its Constitution guarantee religious freedom for all (which is sometimes the case in countries that in fact do not respect it by a long shot), but it also participates in the global efforts of democratic countries to promote the FoRB all over the world. . He has a special correspondent for FoRB belonging to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is part of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance, a network of like-minded countries fully committed to advancing the FoRB around the world.