On Dec 3rd '10, we were notified of an article concerning Iskcon Houston, Texas. It appears from the article (which is posted further below) that Iskcon's snatch-and grab tradition with which we have become familiar through the years, has not lost momentum, nor does there appear to be any shame or remorse by leadership in exposure to these activities, which, if practiced in a secular world, would bring prison sentences down like confetti.
We find it very difficult to understand how governments globally, who cannot tolerate even a 'loose change' discrepancy in tax declarations (recently jailing a seventy-five-year-old pensioner for three years), can permit organizations to 'self assess' their incomes and use loopholes making themselves invisible to govt. levies and audits.
Not-for-profit organizations, including charities and religions, are currently afforded tax exempt status on the presumption they provide communities with services and assistance that is beneficial. Subsequently, these entities are not required to lodge income tax returns unless otherwise specified. As a rule of thumb, Tax Office Commissioners worldwide, will acknowledge that once an organization has received tax exemption, they 'self access'. This means that they function unhindered / unchecked by tax offices. Lodgments made by these organizations are taken at face value, without so much as a ''please explain". And, in some cases, as with Iskcon, they remain totally invisible to the inland revenue departments, globally.
Here below, BIF posts for perusal of our readers, an excerpt from a recent commission into the tax exempt status of charities/religions in Australia, which is no different from any other country on the planet when confronting the easy accessibility to this grey zone by the criminal element:
Senator Xenophon: " Perhaps more concerning, however, is that charities and religions are also able to self-assess their income tax status and may therefore be income tax exempt and operate completely unknown to the Tax Office."
Mr Michael Hardy, Assistant Commissioner of Taxation with the Australian Tax Office: —If they make that self-assessment, which also then allows for them to be exempt from income tax, they would not make themselves known to the tax office. They would not be required to make themselves known to the tax office. If the nature of their activities in relation to goods and services tax, for example, were below the thresholds for registration, they would not be registered for goods and services tax purposes. If they did not have employees or they did not have any fringe benefits tax arrangements in relation to employees, they would have no requirement to engage with the tax office in the fringe benefits tax space, and so they may in fact be technically invisible to the tax office in any formal sense.
We can see and understand (underlined above) why Iskcon's administration, although helping itself to wages and 'employing' others, never draws up written contracts with its employees. This encourages the 'employee' to evade an income declaration (tax evasion), and maintains invisibility for the employer...quid-pro-quo.
ACTING CHAIR—That in a way answers the question which I was going to ask, and that is: since groups can self-assess as a religion, what quantum, what number, of religions would you say are out there whereby, unless they become visible to you from some of their activity, you would not know they existed as such? For a group to claim tax exemption there must be a point where they put in a tax return or an exemption is claimed, and therefore it must be possible to make some sort of assessment of the numbers.
Mr Hardy—The only tax concession that could be accessed without an approach to the tax office by a religious organisation would be to self-assess that they were a religious organisation, which makes them exempt from income tax. The practical consequence of that is that they do not have to lodge an income tax return. If they have no reason to have a dealing with the tax office in any other capacity then they have no dealing with the tax office.
ACTING CHAIR—Do they have to advise you of their self-assessment?
Mr Hardy—No. Self-assessment is that. They self-assess.
If our readers can understand what is being said here, then they can easily understand how gurus and administrators in 'corporate Iskcon' amass their millions.
ACTING CHAIR—In other words, they are left alone. They have self-assessed and you do not have any reason to monitor them whatsoever.
Mr Hardy—No. The legislation does not provide for that. They are potentially invisible to us as a taxation entity or an entity that has an interaction with the tax system.
Here is the criteria for tax exemption:
it exists for the public benefit or the relief of poverty
its purposes are charitable within the legal sense of that term
it is non-profit, and
its sole purpose is charitable.
This is what BIF has been screaming about for years....In spite of millions in the bank, jet-setting, property investments, stocks and bonds, lawyer's fees in ongoing litigations....everything / anything they desire, they still remain 'invisible' to accountability on all fronts. Is this why His Divine Grace's dictates were discarded in preference to the guru system.... surrounded by a moat of entrenched 'officers for life' ? Is this why the poisoners worked ruthlessly to quiet our Srila Prabhupada, before his dictates reached an audience beyond the cordon asphyxiating him.
Senator XENOPHON—Mr Hardy, further to Senator Eggleston’s line of questioning, that means that once an organisation has a tax free status as a religion, for instance, and they self-assess, there is no scope to look into the books of that organisation?
Mr Hardy—There could be for an organisation, and not just in the charity sphere, because the tax system is premised along self-assessment. If the tax office became aware of an organisation that was self-assessing as a religious organisation and we had reason to believe that they may have made an incorrect assessment, we certainly do have powers of inquiry to make contact with them and to gather information. We might be able to advise them that they were incorrect in their assessment and that perhaps they were not a religious organisation, in which case they may be part of the tax system in some other fashion.
Senator XENOPHON—But if they are classified as a religious organisation, they are invisible—you used the word ‘invisible’ earlier—for the purpose of being subject to pay tax; therefore, you cannot look. Once they have got the status of religion you cannot really look behind that.
Mr Hardy—Once they are a religious organisation and they self assess, they are exempt from income tax and therefore have no obligation to lodge an income tax return.
Okay. So now we will post the article mentioned at the commencement of this report, which should give readers an idea of how the tax-exemption umbrella, which makes an organization invisible, can open over areas of deep and dark practices:
Dec 03, 2010 — DALLAS, TEXAS, USA (SUN) — What I hear is that ISKCON Houston has received $20 to $30 Million from the estate of Dr. Raj Dhingra, who died some months ago. This big news is being kept secret and there may be many reasons for it, such as the possibility of suspicious death, a missing Will and records from Dr. Dhingra's house, tax cheating, misuse of 501(c)3, etc. Watch for this drama to unfold over the coming months.
Dr. Dhingra's story starts around 1992, when Dinesh Patel (Dinanath das, TKG disciple) told me that the plan was to get a $250K to $500K loan from Dr. Dhingra and then push him into giving donation. Later on I heard that Dr. Dhingra did give a loan of $250K and then it was turned into a donation - it seems under heavy pressure/coercion. Then the relations of Dr. Dhingra with the Houston Temple became soured, since he felt that he was cheated/tricked.
However, what I hear now is that Tamal Krishna Goswami, along with Houston Temple devotees, made efforts to patch up the relations with Dr. Dhingra, and then he was trapped into setting up Tax Shelters using the tax exempt status of ISKCON Houston related corporations. Of course, details are guarded as top secrets.
Thus we end up at a stage where Dr. Dhingra has died, his Will and records are missing from his house as alleged by some or many, and clouds of tax cheating and misuse of 501(c)3 are hanging over ISKCON Houston and its leaders.
It is clear that the eyes of ISKCON leaders have been focused on how to get Dr. Dhingra's wealth over the last two decades. So watch over the coming months to see how this drama unfolds, and learn who did what.
To further illustrate the point, we will also post an article from the BIF archives showing further how the tax-exemption status hides not just revenue but the devious acts of criminality to which it gives opportunity:
VENOM IN VOGUE
Number nine Clove Hall Road Penang, is a piece of prime real estate. Nestled between tall sky-scrapers, it may not be everyone's idea of an ideal location, but in greenbacks; it's a cool three million. The property was once owned by co-signees Ramananda das and Madam Khoo. Ramananda started an iskcon temple on the property and used it to raise funds. Through its gbc representative for the zone (jayapataka), iskcon put constant pressure on Ramananda to surrender the title for the land. Ramananda, described (by his own friends) as a controller and manipulator from the Kirtinananda fold, refused to comply with iskcon's demands.
While visiting the Philippines, Ramananda developed a strange illness: one eye began drifting to the side of his face, his nose grew mis-shapen, and those that associated with him closely, complained of a "garlic" odour. Cancer was suspected. However, even though Ramananda had visited three hospitals, this diagnosis was never established as the cause. After sometime, Madam Khoo (the co-signee) also became ill. Her legs grew weak and she would collapse unexpectedly, until finally, a severe stroke paralyzed the left side of her body. Ramananda didn't survive, he succumbed to the mystery illness that often caused him to cry out in pain requesting death to take him.
A guest at the Kaula Lampur temple, was surprised to see devotees tripping over each other in a wild rush for their cars. Night was approaching, where were they going? Only later did he find out, that jayapatak's goons had driven ten hours through the night to takeover the Penang temple. We hear that Madam Khoo's good right thumb was used to sign over the property to iskcon. We also hear that Ramananda (Lyou Beng-Tiek, a Chinese-Malaysian whose family traditionally bury their dead) was cremated before his parents were informed. An attempt to stop the cremation by a devotee who suspected foul-play was ignored. All attempts to retrieve blood samples from the three hospitals involved have yielded no results. Was Ramananda a victim of arsenic? Can jayapataka answer this question? It was his zone, his disciples, his takeover and he was on the scene from square one.
Was he also on the scene when Chatur Bahu was tied to a chair and stabbed in the neck. The investigating officer declared on national TV that it was an "inside job." Chatur Bahu had earlier threatened to expose a painting business being used as a cover for drug imports from Asia. jayapataka was collecting daksine from the "painting" importers when the murder was committed. Was he the "inside job" referred to by the officer ? If not him then who? what inside?
In service to His Divine Grace,