A whistleblower alleged to the IRS that the Mormon Church “misled” members about $100 billion it raised for charitable purposes, The Washington Post reports.
A former investment manager filed a complaint with the IRS in November alleged that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stockpiled $100 billion in accounts instead of using them for charitable works.
The complaint also claims that church leaders are using tax-exempt money to prop up two businesses.
The complained was filed by David Nielsen, who worked as a senior portfolio manager at Ensign Peak Advisers, the church’s investment division, until September.
“Ensign is registered with authorities as a supporting organization and integrated auxiliary of the Mormon Church. This permits it to operate as a nonprofit and to make money largely free from U.S. taxes,” The Post reported. “The exemption requires that Ensign operate exclusively for religious, educational or other charitable purposes, a condition that Nielsen says the firm has not met.”
Nielsen urges IRS to revoke tax-exempt status:
Nielsen urged the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status and alleged under oath that Ensign may owe billions of dollars in taxes.
Nielsen is seeking a reward under an IRS program that pays whistleblowers a percentage of recovered unpaid taxes.
The complaint reportedly includes dozens of supporting documents.
Church’s finances turned Nielsen away:
Nielsen’s twin brother Lars, who provided a copy of the complaint to The Post, said that his brother was dismayed by what he saw from his church.
“Having seen tens of billions in contributions and scores more in investment returns come in, and having seen nothing except two unlawful distributions to for-profit concerns go out, he was dejected beyond words, and so was I,” he said in a statement.
The church last year said it “pays taxes on any income it derives from revenue-producing activities that are regularly carried on and are not substantially related to its tax-exempt purposes.”