Scientology's Finances Detailed

Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Date: October 23, 1999

The Church of Scientology, the secretive international organization that recently won a decades-long drive for federal tax exemption, counts assets of about $400 million and appears to take in nearly $300 million a year from counseling fees, book sales, investments and other sources, according to documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

The documents show that the group spends heavily on legal fees, advertising and fund-raiser commissions, and is spending $114 million to preserve the writings and tapes of its deceased founder, L. Ron Hubbard, which it calls its scripture.

But they challenge criticisms that Scientology is a sham religion run for the financial benefit of senior members. Its officials' salaries are comparable to those of other church leaders. David Miscavige, who holds Scientology's highest ecclesiastical position, is listed as being paid $62,683.50 in 1991. The United Methodist Church pays its leaders up to $85,932, plus housing.

Tax law bars private enrichment of senior church members.

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