Members of the 50‐year old Church of Scientology are currently enjoying a tax deduction for payments for religious training that other religions can perhaps only dream about. Scientologists are currently allowed a tax deduction for amounts spent for required religious training, whereas taxpayers of other religions have been denied attempts to deduct amounts spent on religious education. Startling to many, Scientologists were granted this deduction in a private IRS ruling, despite the Supreme Court holding that payments for Scientology auditing and training were not deductible as charitable contributions.

This article discusses:

• the conflict between the IRS and Scientology that resulted in the ability of Scientologists to deduct payments for “auditing and training” as charitable contributions,

• the frustrated attempts by members of other religions to gain comparable treatment,

• the Tax Court and the Supreme Court rulings on related issues, and

• the needed change to the relevant standard to accomplish more equitable treatment among taxpayers.

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