Scientology in The United Kingdom - Status - Legal Status

Legal Status

See also: Scientology as a state-recognized religion#United Kingdom

The UK government does not classify the Church of Scientology as a religious institution. The Church's application for charity status in England and Wales was rejected in 1999, on the grounds that there is no "public benefit arising out of the practice of Scientology". and the Church has not exercised its right of appeal. In 2000, however, the Church of Scientology scored an important victory when it was exempted from UK value added tax on the basis that it is a not-for-profit body. As a result of the decision, Revenue and Customs reportedly had to return several million pounds' worth of past VAT payments to the institution.

Although the Church of Scientology itself does not have charitable status, several of its related organisations do, including Greenfields School and Narconon. The governing organisation of Scientology in the UK, Church of Scientology Religious Education College, Inc (COSRECI), is a corporation registered in South Australia. While a court judgement there recognising Scientology as a religion, COSRECI itself is not registered as a charity.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Scientology is "an officially recognised religion in the Royal Navy". The Prison Service in England and Wales does not recognize Scientology as a religion, but prisoners who are registered as Scientologists may practice their religion and are given access to a representative of the Church of Scientology if they wish to receive its ministry.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced in March 2009 that Scientology should be treated as a religion for the purposes of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, which criminalises threatening words or behaviour directed at religious groups.

Read more about this topic:  Scientology In The United Kingdom, Status

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