The Brisbane Times reported today that the new Federal Budget to be reported by Wayne Swan on Tuesday night this week will feature a change in the taxation of churches and specifically of charities. I read the report about this after seeing a tweat by Pastor Brian Houston from Hillsong Church in Sydney.
He wrote in three tweats on Twitter today, "I hope a charities commission protects Hillsong from agenda driven journalism, such as on page 4 of Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald! All activities of Hillsong Church contribute to our non profit objectives. The Sydney Morning Herald HAVE all the info needed to know that! Phillip Coorey & Peter Hartcher know or should know that the only link between Hillsong & Gloria Jeans, is the owners belong to the church!"
Authors Phillip Coorey and Peter Hartcher reported, "The federal budget will put a lid on the practice of so-called charities using their tax-free status to generate business income for no charitable purpose whatsoever. In changes to be announced in the federal budget on Tuesday, not-for-profit organisations will have to pay tax on profits that are kept for commercial purposes and not redirected towards the organisation's altruistic purpose.
The government and the charity sector have grown concerned at the proliferation of groups which qualify as a not-for-profit entity and then launch profitable businesses."
Did Coorey and Hartcher ring Hillsong to verify the relationship with Gloria Jeans? Did they ring Gloria Jeans owners Nabi Saleh and Peter Irvine? Yes, they are members of Hillsong church. Wikipedia says "in mid-2009, Gloria Jean's Coffees International formed a charity, the GJCI "With Heart" Foundation, to support various international charities, including Compassion and Opportunity International."
This new report from Brisbane combined with Swan's budget will have little impact on groups like Jews for Jesus. Here in Australia we operate a book shop in Bondi Junction, the recognized centre of the Jewish community. The report says, "The changes will not affect simple activities such as cake stalls or lamington drives, nor such ventures as op-shops or church hall hire, where the profits are put back into the charity. But not-for-profit entities will have to pay income tax on profits that are not directed towards their altruistic purpose and they will not be able to use input tax concessions, such as fringe benefits tax and GST, for the unrelated commercial activities."
All profits from our book shop go back into the ministry/ organization. So we will not be hampered from our use of profits back into the organization, at least this year.
Feel free to buy things from our catalog (or not), but the products are all useful to understand more about Y'shua, more about the Jewish people, more about the love of God. Catalog
We hope that all churches, all organizations, live within the laws of our country, and that all courts and tax departments live within their requirements and laws as well. No witch-hunting, no 'agenda-driven journalism' as Pastor Brian said. Large churches are often targets of some 'tall poppy' haters. May our Labor Government not be party to such. Let's live honestly and fairly. That's what God would want. Don't you agree?