David Nielsen’s Filed an IRS Complaint

David Nielsen, a former member of the Mormon Church and employee of the LDS Church’s investment firm (Ensign Peak), filed a complaint against Ensign Peak with the IRS. Nielsen’s complaint claimed that Ensign Peak shouldn’t be allowed to invest the Mormon Church’s tithing funds tax-free. Nielsen’s complaint also claimed that two of Ensign Peak’s investments violated tax laws.

Ensign Peak is registered with the government as a church-supporting entity. It is legal for Ensign Peak to invest the church’s money and to receive returns on those investments with the tax-exempt status of a church. One of these investments was in City Creek Mall. The Mall is located in downtown Salt Lake City and the Mormon Church invested in the mall to reinvigorate and enhance the downtown area.

Ensign Peak also used its investment returns to help Beneficial Life, a life insurance company run by the Mormon Church. This occurred during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. As of 2019, Beneficial Life had paid back almost all of the money that Ensign Peak had invested in the company. This did not violate tax law. So, donations to the LDS Church are partly used for investments.