Via Neil: Hillsong coughs up, Sydney Morning Herald reported Hillsong's Houstons' 1 million dollar plus "business", Leadership Ministries Inc. Just by looking at the article on how each entities related to each other, it sounds like accountants and lawyers were working hard on structure finance there. More like a "business" than "ministry" to me...
I will not get into the discussion on what kind of gospel they are teaching. Good for them that they are blessed with lots of earthly temporary possessions. However, just echoing the same issue what Neil has also raised on his site, shouldn't a not-for-profit organisation, registered as a ministry, be more transparent on their income and expenditure?
I do not run a church, but my guess would be that an organisation might get some kind of tax concession if it is registered as a religious ministry. They get this concession because of their not-for-profit status. However, would ministers abuse this generosity from the government by establishing some structural financing behind entities that do not or pay concession rate of tax? I was expecting to see some of these tax avoidance acts in ATO's top hit list, not between some church ministers, their real estate properties and some special leasing arrangement with their "ministry" organisations.
One article that I was trying to get hold onto is on the BRW 26 May 2005: God's millionaires. Too bad I don't subscribe to BRW so no access to their website. Anyone still got the dead tree version that I can borrow?