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High Court reinstates charitable status of two Destiny Church entities, allowing tax exemptions


Destiny Church’s two major charities will continue to operate, including tax exemptions, after a High Court ruling today.

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The charities had been stripped of their tax exemption status, but that is now overturned. Source: 1 NEWS

Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings were removed from the Charities Register in 2017, after persistent warnings about their failure to file annual returns.

But as of 4pm yesterday, all obligations had been met, and the High Court this morning ordered they be reinstated their charitable status.

“The charities always met the requirements for registration - there was just an issue regarding the late filing of returns,” the church’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said outside court.

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Brian and Hannah Tamaki's church could now face a substantial tax bill as a result of the deregistration. Source: 1 NEWS

He said there are 1300 other charities in New Zealand which also failed to meet that requirement and “they felt singled out for no good reason”.

As a result, any further appeals to the court by Destiny Church have been dropped.

The church finally filed its returns for 2018 earlier this month – a year after they were due – which revealed a loss of more than half a million dollars and that their current liabilities exceeded assets by more than $1 million.

Mr Mansfield said all outstanding issues and costs were now up to date.

“Sensible dialogue has been ongoing for some time but, as is often the case, it came to a conclusion just relatively recently,” he said of Destiny Church and the Charities Board during the court process.

“The audit requirements are quite stringent, as they should be for charities, and so the auditors wanted information. They got information and it was resolved.

“Everything’s up to date, as required.”