Destiny Church threatened with charity deregistration

  • 03/10/2017
It has 20 days to file their overdue returns.
It has 20 days to file their overdue returns. Photo credit: File

The Department of Internal Affairs is threatening to remove Destiny Church's charities from the Charities Register for failing to file the required annual returns.

"Following the Department's standard practice, a Notice of Intention to Remove from the Register has been sent to two charities [Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings]," the department says.

"They now have 20 working days to file an objection to the notice, or file both overdue Returns, or they will be removed from the Register."

Destiny Church came under fire in 2016, after a complaint about its tax-free status, when leader Brian Tamaki controversially commented that gays and sinners were responsible for the devastating magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake.

At the time, Charities Services, which is part of the Department of Internal Affairs, said it was following its "usual process" when a complaint was made.

That involves an initial assessment on whether there are grounds to believe a charity may be breaching the Charities Act or "may be responsible for serious wrongdoing".

More than 123,000 people signed an online petition to strip the church of its tax-free status and have it declared a 'hate group'.

Churches largely avoid paying taxes because, according to the law, the advancement of religion is considered a charitable purpose.

The Department of Internal Affairs says it has received a filing from Destiny Church Auckland about its removal, but has not specified what the filing is.