The Tax Man Cometh

Last week the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tax Office sent their inspector on his once-every-four-year visit to the Japanese church which hosts the Wheelchairs of Hope’s largest work and storage space.  During these visits inspectors verify that the churches use their facilities for religious activities.  He found that since his last visit the church has installed a few drink machines which sell various sodas and teas.  This he said is considered as conducting business.  They will have to pay property tax on the floor area on which the drink machines stand.

Next was the issue of Wheelchairs of Hope (which is registered with the government as an NPO — Non Profit Organization) using part of the building’s 5th floor.  As a Japanese NPO the majority of our work (51%) is not permitted to be religious, only 49% of what we do is allowed to be religious activity.  So how does that figure in?  Well, he didn’t know and said next week someone higher up would come to the church to decide how much property tax to asses. He pulled out his calculator and said to expect something between $2,500 and $8,750 per year in property tax.

So far, God’s provision has been an amazing place to reach out to the nearby community and to all of Asia, and for no charge.  What will happen now? Needless to say, whatever amount is decided, the money will have to come from somewhere. What is God going to do? What surprises are in store? Please pray with us regarding the next tax man’s visit and the decision he makes.

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About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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