Need Advice About Letter to the IRS to Revoke the WTBTS' Tax Exempt Status

by ABibleStudent 34 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • ABibleStudent

    Please review my letter to the IRS Commissioner to establish a process for revoking the tax exempt status of dangerous cults and write comments about how to improve it.

    Rough Draft of Letter

    Mr. Douglas H. Shulman


    Internal Revenue Service

    1111 Constitution Avenue, NW

    Washington, DC 20224

    Dear Commissioner Shulman:

    How can Americans help the IRS to determine whether to revoke a dangerous cult’s 501(c)(3) tax exempt status? The 501(c)(3) tax exemption was established for organizations, which do charitable activities to help Americans and lessen the burdens of government. A dangerous cult, as defined by Steve Hassan in his books, enslaves people using behavioral control techniques to benefit the organization, promotes religious prejudice and discrimination, and usually increases the burdens of government.

    If the IRS actively investigates organizations that support terrorism to eliminate them from receiving tax exemptions and donations, why doesn’t the IRS also investigate organizations for being a dangerous cult? Members of dangerous cults have killed Americans at Jonestown in Guyana and in Waco, Texas and continue to harm Americans: the dangers for Americans are real. I believe that the American Government is involuntarily supporting dangerous cults, because dangerous cults have and continue to receive 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

    Is it possible for the IRS to establish a process that Americans can send evidence about an organization to the IRS to investigate? All that is needed is for the IRS to establish a mail/email address for Americans to send information to the IRS about an organization for a period of 6 months, and then assign trained agent(s) to review the information to determine whether to revoke an organization’s 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Agent(s) could be trained by reading books by cult experts, such as Steve Hassan’s book “Combatting Cult Mind Control”, and by taking seminars from cult experts in how to identify a dangerous cult and to understand how it behaves.

    What type of information and how much information would the IRS need to revoke an organization’s 501(c)(3) tax exempt status? Are letters from former/current cult members acceptable that describe how their organization harmed them personally, increased tensions in a community, and promoted prejudice and discrimination? Is publically available literature written by an organization encouraging family and friends, who are members, to shun former members evidence of promoting prejudice and discrimination? Are confidential documents acceptable that discloses how the organization teaches its members to deceive and lie to the general public, government officials, and the courts? Are court documents acceptable that show how an organization interfered with criminal complaints being filed about child abuse and/or molestation?

    I respectfully request that the IRS open a case file and assign agents to investigate whether the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc. (EIN 11-1753577), Brooklyn, NY should have its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status revoked. All I need is to know where Americans can send information to the IRS and for how long, and what type of information and how much information is needed.

    I believe that the Watchtower Society is a dangerous cult and does more harm than good for America for the following reasons:

    • It requires that members must shun former members who are family or a personal friend as long as that individual is not a member. If a active member does not shun an inactive member, then the active member is at risk of being disfellowshipped/excommunicated. It doesn’t matter whether the former member voluntarily resigned, received a whole blood transfusion to save their life, joined the American military, publicly criticized or disagreed with the organization, or did something that is considered sinful by the organization.
    • Counsels members to not report crimes to local authorities such as child abuse and child molestation.
    • Promotes using theocratic warfare strategy (i.e., lying) to deceive the general public, government officials, and court proceedings for the benefit of the Watchtower Society.

    Thank you in advance for reviewing and responding to my letter.


    After reviewing information on the IRS website, I believe that there is a way to educate the IRS to review the practises of dangerous cults like the WTBTS, determine that those cults are not operating as a charitable organization, and revoke their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status if enough evidence is collected.

    According to the IRS website (,,id=175418,00.html) -

    The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

    My contention is that if the IRS has already revoked the tax exempt status of some charities because of their links to terrorism or were considered a front organization, so why not the WTBTS because of the harm that it has caused and the increased burdens to government. This is a link to the IRS website that lists organizations which have had their tax exempt status revoked:,,id=141459,00.html

    Although I did not mention it in my letter to the IRS, I would like to discover how the WTBTS's assets would inur if there was no longer a WTBTS. According to information on JWN, title of KH's will ultimately revert back to the Governing Body if a local congregation no longer exists. According to the IRS website, tax exempt assets must be permanently dedicated to an exempt purpose.

    According to the IRS website (,,id=123368,00.html) -

    In addition, an organization's assets must be permanently dedicated to an exempt purpose. This means that if an organization dissolves, its assets must be distributed for an exempt purpose, to the federal government, or to a state or local government for a public purpose. To establish that an organization's assets will be permanently dedicated to an exempt purpose, its organizing documents should contain a provision ensuring their distribution for an exempt purpose in the event of dissolution. If a specific organization is designated to receive the organization's assets upon dissolution, the organizing document must state that the named organization must be a section 501(c)(3) organization when the assets are distributed. Although reliance may in some cases be placed upon state law to establish permanent dedication of assets for exempt purposes, an organization's application can be processed by the IRS more rapidly if its organizing documents include a provision ensuring permanent dedication of assets for exempt purposes. For examples of provisions that meet these requirements, see Charity - Required Provisions for Organizing Documents.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • LostGeneration

    The letter is nice, I don't see any specific problems. I guess the cynic in me just sees stuff like this as snowball's chance in hell. For example, note what the IRS says in here:

    The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion;

    While most of us would see them as a publishing cult, they have a history as a religion. The government does not want to get into the mess of differentiating a religion from a cult, simply because arguments can be made both ways. It would be a never-ending wild goose chase for everybody who hates their former religion to complain to the government and call them a cult

    Way too much gray area. It has to be black and white (like funding terrorism).

  • Londo111

    And cults, like the Moonies, have friends in high places. It is because of lobbying like theirs that Steven Hassan couldn't get more governmental attention focused on this issue. Maybe you should ask his advice?

  • AllTimeJeff

    With all respect, the IRS is not going to take away JW's tax exempt status. The letter from one citizen who could potentially be framed as a disgruntled former member will do little to nothing.

    If the letter makes you feel better, and you want to be on the record though, that is what being a citizen is all about! Just be realistic about the outcome.

  • 00DAD

    Good letter.

    You should probably put "Theocratic Warfare" strategy in quotes.

    My 2 cents!

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    Whenever I see these threads about taking the WT to court, IRS, whatever I just feel bad for the authors of them.

  • shepherd

    A complete waste of time!

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    wishful thinking at best.

  • rebel8

    My first question is, is a letter the legal method to request the tax exempt status be revoked? If not your letter could just get tossed.

    Secondly I am wondering why the IRS would have authority/interest in the "dangerous cult" angle. Their job is taxes, not law enforcement? Believe me I am sure you are right about the harms of cults but I don't think the IRS has involvement in regulating that.

    According to the IRS website, tax exempt assets must be permanently dedicated to an exempt purpose.

    That may be something you could request via FOIL. It's a required part of a non-profit's by-laws which are sent to the IRS when they apply for exempt status. Google IRS FOIL to find the address and wording of your letter.

    I think what you're saying is the khs would get turned over to wts if they close, then if wts closes it would go to the GB. If that's true then it's odd and may be something they would need to change. LOL though can you imagine--they'd have to put it in their by-laws that if they are extinguished they'd donate their assets to another charity or religion.

    Or maybe religions are exempt from that requirement.

    PS-Scientology lost its tax exempt status at one point. Maybe that's a place to begin to strategize--how and why did that happen, etc.

  • journey-on

    Sounds like a good letter. I have one thought to add. The powers that be...the ones that could actually take action....need to know that the Watchtower Society and its followers are allowed to deceive and outright lie under certain circumstances.

    I think more people, including those in government positions, should be told what THEOCRATIC WARFARE means in its fullest sense.

    The recent trial of the honor killing of his daughter by a muslim father has brought this type of deception into the light. Islam has something similar. I forget what it is called, but a muslim is allowed to lie if it means protecting sharia law, something very similar to theocratic warfare.

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