Dutch court rules Scientology tax-exempt

Amsterdam — A Dutch court has ruled the Amsterdam arm of Scientology is a charitable organization and exempt from paying taxes.

The ruling by the Amsterdam Appeals Court overturns a lower court ruling that Scientology should be taxed because it charges adherents for classes.

The appeal court ruled that Scientology's classes "don't differ significantly from what other spiritual organizations do, or can do." It noted there are payment exemptions for members who can't afford them.

While Scientology is recognized as a religion in the U.S., some countries have classified it as a business or a sect and curtailed its activities.

The Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology, founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems. It claims 10 million members worldwide.