The Mormon Church may be misleading its congregation when it comes to its tax-exempt investment fund, The Washington Post reports.
David Nielsen, a former senior portfolio manager at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' investment division, filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service in November alleging the Mormon church's leaders stockpiled $100 billion in surplus donations rather using them for charitable purposes as intended.
Nielsen, who did not respond to the Post's queries, reportedly urged the IRS to strip the church's investment arm, Ensign — a non-profit required to operate exclusively for religious, educational, or other charitable purposes — of its tax-exempt status. He also accused church leaders of using donations to bail out a church-run insurance company and a Salt Lake City, Utah, mall that was part of a joint venture between the church and a local real estate company.
No documents were provided to support Nielsen's claims, but Philip Hackney, a former IRS official who teaches tax law at the University of Pittsburgh, said the complaint raised a "legitimate concern" about whether Ensign deserved its tax-exempt status.
"If you have a charity that simply amasses a war chest year after year and does not spread any money for charity purposes, that does not meet the requirements of tax law," he told the Post. Read more at The Washington Post.