Revenue to tighten control on donations to temples 

The Sangha Supreme Council has decided to tighten grip on temples obtaining donations from members of the public, and businesses  following request by the Revenue Department following recent misconducts by monastery personnel and some senior monks  in receiving donations and issuing  donation  certificates for donors for tax deductions.

Under the new practice, e-Donation will be introduced for control of donations to temples to replace the present issuance of certificates by the temple alone.

The decision was reached at the meeting of the council yesterday.

Spokesperson for the council, Mr Somkiat Thong-Sri, also the special inspector of the National Office of Buddhism,  revealed that a meeting of the council which was chaired by the Supreme Patriarch His Holiness Somdej Phra Ariyavong Sagatayarna (Amborn Ambaro) was convened yesterday to discuss a proposal by the Revenue Department over protocols for donations made through electronic means or e-Donations.

He said the council reached a consensus that it will prepare a list of 40,000 Buddhist temples in the country to the Revenue Department so that tax IDs can be issued for each temple.

Only after being granted these IDs can temples legally receive e-Donations.

The council hoped that this will provide greater convenience for the general public who wish to make donations through this method which will also allow speedier tax reimbursements on their donations without the need to file temple receipts or certificates.

As an added benefit, the Revenue Department will also be given an effective tool for making checks to ensure that these funds are not waylaid.

The Revenue Department came out with e-Donations after it detected several donation receipts or certicates issued by temples did not properly showed actual donations were made.

Some temples gave certificate forms to donors to fill their own figures, some far higher than the amount they actually donated with consent of monastery personnel and some abbots.

These certificates have signatures of abbots to verify the donation amount despite the fact that the figure is left blank.

The certificates will then be attached for tax deduction when taxpayers filed their annual personal or corporate tax payment with the department.