Leah Remini’s goal: get Scientology’s tax exempt status revoked

In case you’re not familiar with this background, the Scientology cult earned tax free status as a religion in the US the same way it counters just about every detractor: by gathering personal information about individual IRS agents, by using underhanded tactics including spies and surveillance, and by blackmailing people. This isn’t just rumors and speculation, it’s a matter of public record due to the fact that several Scientologists were put on trial and sent to jail for stealing from government offices and committing espionage in the 1970s. And those efforts eventually paid off for them, Scientology earned its tax free status back in 1993 after having it revoked back in 1967 for abuses. So Scientology has enjoyed over 20 years of amassing wealth by bleeding parishioners dry while making people work 12 plus hour days for slave labor wages, all while not owing a dime to the US government.

People used to be afraid of Scientology but that’s changed thanks to the Internet, thanks to protestors and to Anonymous, and thanks to very brave ex members like Leah Remini. Now that Leah’s Scientology documentary has finished up on A&E (she’s now in talks for a second season) she’s thinking of her end game and that involves getting Scientology’s status as religion revoked in the US.

When Leah appeared on ABC’s 20/20 just days before the season finale, it was revealed that talks of a second season are underway. But until a final decision is made, the self-proclaimed troublemaker has some plans of her own.

For starters, the former King of Queens star hopes the IRS will consider stripping away the church’s tax exempt status.

“By the IRS saying this is a religious organization, they are hiding behind now freedom of religion and they should take a look,” she explained. “I’m hoping there’s someone with some balls who will do something about it.”

After hearing several allegations of abuse and mistreatment from former members, Leah has also brought up the idea of having the police and FBI get involved. When asked for her fondest hope, the former co-host of The Talk expressed her wish that the legal system gets involved.

“That somebody is willing to be honest and say, ‘What these people are saying is true and I’m ready to prosecute,'” she shared on ABC. “We need that person.”

[From E! Online]

Wiki has a nice chart compiling the religious/tax free status of Scientology in countries around the world. While I was in Germany recently I saw a documentary on Scientology and they use these same methods in Europe of course including infiltrating government offices, using intel against people who work there, and generally doing whatever it takes to get their way. Leah is absolutely on the right track by bringing this up, and by bringing to light the way that everyday people in the cult are treated. The US government has a lot more to worry about at this point than this cult and its abuses but maybe once the dust settles and we see how much there is to clean up Scientology will be on someone’s list.

Leah Remini Signs Copies Of Her New Book "Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology"


photos credit: WENN.com

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75 Responses to “Leah Remini’s goal: get Scientology’s tax exempt status revoked”

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  1. Lemon says:

    Yassssss! Stick it to those creepy weirdos!

    • Megan says:

      It’s a lovely sentiment, but it will never happen. The Republican congress has so defunded and defanged the IRS it can barely process tax returns much less go after fake churches.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        But the repubs are all about the almighty dollar, and they could get a hefty sum from taxing the hell out of the CO$.

      • Natalia says:

        Agreed with NotSoSocialButterfly

      • Missmarirose says:

        Agreed. All they have to do is flatter Baby fists and send some business to his hotels aND he’ll fall all over himself to do what they want including kIllinois any attempt to revoke their tax exempt status.

  2. Onerous says:

    Yes, yes, yes!!! I’ve followed Tony Ortega’s reporting for years but for most people this is fresh news. And I’ve heard many people talking about her show who wouldn’t ordinarily be people who paid attention to Scientology. She’s 100% right – that tax exempt status is the one thing keeping this cult afloat.

    I’ve heard she’ll be doing a second season!

    • KWM says:

      I read Tony everyday. Love his coverage. And I agree I have so many people posting on facebook about watching this and they knew CO$ was shady but no where close to what the show has shown them.

      • Lolafalana says:

        Me too! When Katy Holmes had to escape her marriage using burner phones, I found Tony. It’s one of the websites I visit virtually every day. For so many of us silent Scientology watchers – it is so amazing that this is happening and how far reaching this show has been.

      • Crowdhood says:

        I have been deeply obsessed with this cult for years. I was working at Colorado College assisting in a transition and I was in the car riding from the airport with the transition team who I had just met five minutes before. We drove by the mission of Colorado Springs and I was freaking out asking them a million questions like a weirdo. I’m SO thankful that the depth of their depravity is becoming more known!

    • ShoeAddict says:

      I applaud her efforts go against this cult as that is exactly what it is. They have no reason to be considered a “church” due to the inter workings of the organization.
      And on a side note, I believe that NFL/NBL or any sports team should not be tax exempt either. When I heard this, I thought this is the most ridiculous tax except program ever.
      Dump them both, neither qualify or deserve it.

    • Odette says:

      I love Tony, and I kinda can’t stand Tony. He can get pretty snooty to people who are just asking questions. Yeah, his ego just rubs me the wrong way, sometimes.I’m more of a Mark Bunker fan, myself. (Though I do recognize Tony’s importance, no doubt.)

  3. Ramona says:

    The final episode ended on a cliff hanger with her on her way to see lawyers about what can be done about this cult. I guess, this is the outcome of that meeting? I hope they follow this IRS process in season 2. But even if A&E dont pick it up, she has enough of a following now to turn it into a super successful web series.

    • KWM says:

      There are actually 2 more episodes. This was going to be the final but there are 2 more new episodes coming.

  4. QQ says:

    I have faith that if anyone can get this done is Leah ” Not Many F*cks left” Remini

  5. Tobbs says:

    I hope I live to see an end to Scientology. There’s so many times I wonder why their leaders are not arrested when the “church’s” abuse are so blatantly in our faces.

  6. The New Classic says:

    *Shrug* I think all religious groups should lose their tax exempt status.

    • Jess says:

      Yeah, agree completely!

    • DailyNightly says:

      ITA with you on this, New Classic, but it would be especially satisfying to see Scientology get screwed.

    • JulP says:

      Yes. Especially when those religious groups are using their power to influence legislation.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        I understand your point, but I think the real issue there is the lack of proper application of the Constitutional tenet of “Separation of Church and State.” The politicians who claim to be strict Constitutionalists really aren’t, or all this right to life legislation wouldn’t eve be an issue.

      • Odette says:

        Just an FYI, the Constitution doesn’t actually confer “separation of church and state” standards. The ideal was simply a philosophical notion to which some of the founding fathers tried to adhere. Same goes for privacy. There is no Constitutional right to privacy.

    • HappyMom says:


    • Ramona says:

      Add me too. Maybe her case will set precedence that future litigants can use.

    • Shirleygail says:

      The church I go to and support has many outreach programs. Without our tax-free status (my money has already been taxed, why tax it again when I donate it to do good?) many of our outreach programs would be forced closed. And my church still pays property taxes, etc. When governments cut their support programs, people turn to their communities…their churches.

      What would be better would be to stop calling Scientology a religion altogether. It should be taxed like the business that it really is….

      • Ramona says:

        Just a thought but perhaps if the Churches just paid taxes then governments could scale up social programs. Or perhaps they could pass those financial benefits on to non religious charity organisations who also have the advantages of economy of scale.

      • Beatrix says:

        Ramona, so on board with your comment.

      • EOA says:

        Yes. Churches receive tax exempt status because they are charities, not because they are religious institutions.

        And no, the government will never pay more for social programs because they’ve cut off churches charitable status. Certainly not in this political climate.

      • Ramona says:


        Actually the primary justification has always been that it promotes the separation of Church and State. Except the Churches have never cared too much for that separation and are constantly dipping their nose where they dont belong. But as to your argument, if they want exemptions as Charities they should submit fully to the regulations that govern charities on how they raise money and how they spend it. The truth is Churches dont really want this either and have resisted all attempts at financial regulation mostly because on the whole, a very small proportion of Church donations actually go to charity and very few Churches are even equipped to provide quality sustained services (the Catholic Church excepted). Its a feel good thing for parishoners who would be better off donating to actual charities with the right systems and regulatory mechanisms, professional program planning and implementation. But If a Church wants to personally do charity work, let is start a charity on the side and donate to it. We will tax exempt those donations. But all other income coming into the Church that is used to buy flowers for Sunday service, toys for the pastor and speculating on real estate, absolutely must be taxed.

    • Kitten says:

      I clicked on this link after reading the header because I knew someone would say this and I could +1,000,000 it.

      So here I am: +1,000,000

    • Natalia says:

      Once again, right on NotSoSocialButterfly

  7. Digital Unicorn (aKa Betti) says:

    Leah is a ver brace woman and the best kind of female role model. She’s amazing and I hope she gets her wish. I’m a somewhat spiritual person but I do feel she was put here for a purpose and that purpose is to bring down this crazy cult along with others like Ortega. She is using the skills she learned from them to bring them down. Go girl.

  8. Jess says:

    Leah Remini is a badass, I’m so glad she got away from this cult and is trying to help others. Those people are frightening and have ruined countless families, it’s time to shut them down. I don’t understand why the police don’t just go out to that Sea Org place in California and start dragging people out, so many stories of people having to escape from there, why is it still operating!! People are being held against their will, sickening.

  9. Kate says:

    I worry about her safety. Be careful, girl!

    • Ramona says:

      There are scenes on her show of her being trailed by two different guys. So she hired her own PI to uncover their identities and posted their full names and pics of the show. Leah has no f*cks to give.

  10. Clare says:

    What blows my mind is the people who have left the ‘church’ but continue to follow the teaching. Those are the folks I want to better understand – do they genuinely believe in the e-meter readings etc, even after finding out that Hubbard basically just made up a bunch of stuff?

    • Emily says:

      YES! I kept saying this to my husband while we watched her show. I wished they’d addressed this more. It seems like some of the people featured (rightfully) placed a lot of the blame on David Miscavige: things he was doing opened their eyes to the way the church had been abusing or manipulating people. But they never really say “and then I realized that the whole e-meter/auditing process/alien backstory was a bunch of BS.” The show focused a lot on families being torn apart, and while that’s incredibly sad it isn’t the real story, and isn’t going to lead to anyone being prosecuted (other religions tear families apart all the time – how many “Christian” kids have been disowned for being gay?)

      • lissanne says:

        Because the issue is not whether Scientology is made-up nonsense. Personally, I think most religion is made-up nonsense. The issue is the abuse that Scientology perpetrates on its members and anyone who gets in its way. Some people find auditing helpful; who are we to argue with them? As long as they’re not forcing it on others, I don’t see the problem.

      • Ramona says:

        I agree Lissanne. Auditing just sounds like a priest confessional with a makeshift lie detector. If somebody gets relief from that, thats their business in the same way that if praying to an unproven omniscient being gives you joy, have at it. The key here is to end the abuse and take away the government benefits that allow religious organizations to amass wealth and unchecked power.

      • K says:

        Because you get a lot farther making your point and can reach more people if you don’t mock their beliefs. I think it’s crazy but many argue Judaism, Christianity are crazy so attacking what they believe shuts done dialog.

        But pointing out that these people went to a “church” and were upstanding parishioners and were abused and family torn apart is more reachable.

      • Jae says:

        The fact that this cult STALKS and HARASSES people should be criminal.

    • ol cranky says:

      yeah, I think that’s how Co$ seems to have gotten Marty Rathbun back into the fold

  11. sura says:

    All religious organizations should lose their tax exempt status.

    Her show is definitely interesting, but it’s weird how obsessed she is with Scientologists not taking vacations. She’s mentioned it like three times as though it’s one of the biggest problems. trick I’m an atheist and I can barely afford vacations.

    • Jess says:

      I noticed that too, but I think she feels like she wasted so much of her time and money on the church when she could’ve been out enjoying the world with her family. I’m sure she feels tremendous guilt for promoting that lifestyle and wants people to realize there’s more to life. Maybe I’m looking too much into it, lol, but I’m fascinated by this crap.

      • Uglyartwork says:

        Yeah she wrote in her book that she does regret all the time she wasted there.
        Up till pretty much the end she was still going to courses every day, hours a day, even when she was working full time on KoQ.

    • K says:

      I think it was more about how isolated they are how they aren’t really being exposed to the world.

      I also think it would be hard to get out of a cult and realized how much of the enjoyments in life you missed.

    • Ramona says:

      Sea Org members basically work 18 hours a day, earn almost nothing, live in appalling conditions and go years without a day off. I mean even Catholic priests get work leave.

  12. Racer says:

    I watched her special on TV and honestly felt like the people being interviewed were talking in circles and I didn’t hear anything that was mortifying. I purposely continued to watch, waiting to hear something about child abuse and the only mention was “inappropriate questions”. IF that is proven to be true, that’s a parental issue.

    • sura says:

      Are you a xenu lackey trying to disguise yourself? You didn’t think the forced abortions and beatings were mortifying?

      • Onerous says:

        They always infiltrate the comments section… those special ones who are allowed to go on the internet, that is…

    • Brittney Buckley says:

      Not to mention the actual CHILD SLAVE LABOR. Not sure if you only watched a minute of the show (and live under a rock), or you’re just a Scientologist.

    • smcollins says:

      @Racer I disagree. I think those interviewed gave a very clear picture of what being in this cult is like (if you’re not rich & famous and sheltered), being very emotional in sharing their experiences. How many examples of physical abuse, mental abuse, forced abortions, harassment, alienation from family members and, really, Stockholm Syndrome does one need to be convinced of how destructive to people’s lives it really is?

      • BubbaMagnet says:

        I think Racer may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome him/herself. Hopefully while Racer is allowed on the internet he or she will make good use of Google.

    • Merritt says:


      If you didn’t hear anything mortifying (also this is the wrong word for you to use) then you weren’t listening. Stalking people, online harassment, child abuse, child rape, locking people in rooms, denial of mental health care, splitting up families, etc. The list could go on forever. If you don’t find that disturbing, then it says something about you.

      • Racer says:

        Ease up on the attacks. I made a comment based on the program.

        1. I am not “infiltrating”
        2. I do not suffer from Stockholm syndrome
        3. My word choice is not “wrong”
        4. I am not a Scientologist

        A large factor in local government taking action against religious organizations is based on facts of child abuse. If all the allegations are true, Tax exempt status is not the priority here.

      • ol cranky says:

        I’m guessing Racer is OK with CO$ murdering Lisa McPherson (something I was very glad to see the show mention, even if only fleetingly)

    • thaliasghost says:

      Considering the amount of abuse – including child abuse – kidnapping, forced labor camps it is astounding and enraging that Scientology still holds so much power to not be taken up on that. My state used to have an entire department of State devoted to deal with the human rights violations of Scientology. That people are still able to trivialize this instead of doing more research is enraging.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I just started watching, saw the first episode tonight. In that episode alone, the woman Leah interviewed told how she was statutory raped by her married church employer at the age of 14, told to lie to her parents about going to be a model in France but really going to work for the church in California, the horrible things the church said about her when she left, and about the brutal disconnection attempts the church tried to force on their family.

  13. notasugarhere says:

    It should not be called a church or religion and should be classified, as some countries have, as a cult. Scientology appears to be taking the tack that anything done or said against them is now a religious hate crime and hate speech. Dangerous territory.

  14. smee says:

    YES! Any church that isn’t actively helping the poor and needy should get their tax exempt status revoked. The Church of S for sure.

    I’m impressed by her bizzalls!

  15. Amy says:

    One word can describe the hierarchy of Scientology…Bullies. as for the followers…brainwashed.

  16. Franny says:

    Good for her!

  17. Merritt says:

    They should lose tan exempt status. They are a cult.

  18. Specialp says:

    I’ve accidentally stumbled upon their compound in Hemet and it’s beautiful. I thought it was a movie production lot.

  19. Wouldn’t most/all the religious organizations either fight scientology’s ‘fall from irs grace’ thinking they are next? Or put forth the case that they are different? I look forward to all of our cults losing 501c3 status…. (All religions, I mean).

  20. Sorry my keyboard seems to be dianeticized.

  21. HookedOnCoffee says:

    So Scientology has enjoyed over 20 years of amassing wealth by bleeding parishioners dry while making people work 12 plus hour days for slave labor wages, all while not owing a dime to the US government.

    Yeah, that sounds like ‘Murica. Can we just talk about how we took the concept of ‘Freedom of Religion’ and ran way too far with it? Scientology is MAYBE the crassest example.

  22. Linds says:

    Her series was fascinating and horrifying. I hope there’s a 2nd season; keep the word alive and keep pissing them off! Let everyone know what it’s truly like in the cult!

  23. BP says:

    So proud of this lady! I love it when people with a voice stick up for the victims!! Go Leah!!

  24. Roller74 says:

    I was amazed, horrified and outraged after watching Leah’s series. David Miscavige is a high functioning sociopath who wants to come back as Tom Cruise in his next life. The episode about how female Sea Org. members are REQUIRED to get an abortion if they become pregnant, made me sick to my stomach. Those promotional video clips that are shown at Scientology events are so cheesy and comical, how can anyone take the (totally inaccurate) information seriously?! And apparently holding two tin cans that are attached to wires and a magnetic panel can relieve a person of their “crimes”, but it will cost $30,000 or more, to do so!! Clearly, the key is bringing people into the fold when they are really young, brainwashing them and than scaring them into staying.

  25. geneva says:

    Please support her efforts to get families back together as well. She did some amazing “journalistic” type shows on how families are torn apart. Everything about Scientology is looks, smells, feels, and tastes like a very powerful cult.

  26. shouldawoulda says:

    Yay, Go 4 it Leah!

  27. Jana says:

    I so admire the work Leah Remini is doing for ex Scientologists. This is NOT a religion, it’s a cult that needs to be taken down and its leaders jailed. I can only hope her exposing their utter bullshit keeps new people from becoming members.