LDS critics challenge church's tax-exempt status

    People attend the twice-annual conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    HONOLULU (AP) — Mormon critics are asking the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to investigate allegations that the church uses a Hawaii cultural center to commit tax fraud.

    Gay-rights activist and Mormon critic Fred Karger delivered a complaint to a Honolulu IRS office Thursday asking for an investigation into possible tax abuses involving the Polynesian Cultural Center, Brigham Young University-Hawaii and a Hawaii land management company.

    The complaint comes after Mormon critics aired television ads last year seeking information that could harm the church's tax-exempt status.

    A church spokesman declined to comment. An IRS spokeswoman says the agency doesn't comment on taxpayer cases and doesn't confirm whether there's an investigation.

    Karger says it's unlikely the tax-exempt status will be revoked, but he hopes the attention forces changes. He's also seeking investigations from other government agencies.

    The Utah-based church has 16 million members worldwide, including 74,000 in Hawaii.

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