Latvian Revenue service ready to advise churches on recording donations

After raiding several Roman Catholic churches, The State Revenue Service (VID) concluded that there is no accounting for donations. The director of VID Ieva Jaunzeme, in an interview with Latvian Radio on June 27, said that VID is ready to advise churches on how to properly record donations.

On June 5, VID raided several Catholic churches. According to unofficial information acquired by Latvian Television, a Catholic priest was suspected of having used at least 20 000 euros donated to the church to buy a car, which he registered on his own name.

Jaunzeme remarked that “the church, just like any other public organization, has to record all donations. The law exempts donations from taxation, yes, but they should be recorded nonetheless. […] I assume that this is done in most churches, and we are willing to consult on how this should be done. The moment someone opens the donation box, there should a witness who records it in a revenue ledger.”

She said that the case in question came to light when “one respected father” bought a car using a VAT fraud scheme very familiar to VID. “The car was bought with cash and registered not on the name of the church, but on the name of the individual. As a result, when investigating this case, it was revealed that donations were not being recorded,” said Jaunzeme.

The director of VID also observed that non-governmental organizations often keep a “too scrupulous record” of their revenues, while the raided churches were quite remiss about documenting their incomes.

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