IRS News Release  
December 31, 1997

Church of Scientology & IRS Confidentiality

WASHINGTON - A recent news article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the recognition by the Internal Revenue Service of the tax exempt status of the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology was recognized as tax exempt after establishing that it was an organization operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes. Recognition was based upon voluminous information provided by the Church regarding its financial and other operations to the Internal Revenue Service.

Closing agreements are frequently used to resolve tax disputes between the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers. A closing agreement dealing with the taxpayer's tax affairs is the confidential tax information of the taxpayer and may not be disclosed by the IRS without proper authorization. The unauthorized disclosure of a closing agreement by the Internal Revenue Service would be a violation of Internal Revenue Code Section 6103. The Office of the Chief Inspector of the Internal Revenue Service is charged with investigating unauthorized disclosures of confidential tax information.


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