Tax-Exempt Status For Televangelist’s Jet Denied

A $3.6 million jet owned by Texas television preacher Kenneth Copeland has been denied tax-exempt status by county officials, opening up a possible investigation into the ministry’s expenses.

The application to receive the exemption requires groups to submit a list of salaries, and Kenneth Copeland Ministry failed to disclose the compensation of the directors, said Jeffery D. Law, Tarrant County’s chief appraiser.

Televangelists have come under investigation during the past year for their lavish lifestyles. Last year, the Copeland ministry also failed to release spending data after U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Copeland and other ministers to provide financial information as part of an inquiry into their finances. 

The ministry said last year that it owns five aircraft, including one valued at $17.5 million. Copeland’s organization, also known as Eagle Mountain International Church, admitted to allowing personal use of the aircraft 10 percent of the time, though it claims individuals are charged for this use.

After the initial investigation last year, the church pledged in a statement to cooperate with “the IRS should the IRS undertake a church tax inquiry.”