By Dan Arel
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to the IRS urging them to investigate Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter. Ham has continuously attempted to run a for-profit business behind his non-profit in order to benefit from as many tax breaks and discriminatory practices as possible.
In an email the FFRF states:
Answers in Genesis (AiG) is a Christian fundamentalist group that advocates a literal interpretation of the bible, and owns the Creation Museum. Through a subsidiary nonprofit, it also owns Ark Encounter, a for-profit LLC, and has fundraised extensively for the park.
Donations to AiG, a nonprofit, are tax deductible, while donations directly to Ark Encounter, a for-profit company, would not be. But AiG fundraising materials include a space for donations to Ark Encounter, and note that donations are “tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.” On the AiG website, donors have the option to designate contributions to Ark Encounter.
A separate Ark Encounter website also states that sponsorship is tax deductible.
Thus it appears that AiG is taking tax-deductible donations and directly giving them to Ark Encounter, LLC, noted FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott.
Nonprofits can run for-profit companies that are related to a charitable purpose, including a religious purpose. But, in order to obtain tax breaks, AiG has taken great pains to assure the state of Kentucky and other government entities that Ark Encounter will be operated as a private, for-profit business. The Ark Encounter website admits, “The for-profit LLC structure also allows the Ark Encounter to be eligible for various economic development incentives that would not have been available with a non-profit structure.”
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