People who enjoy the music and other creature ventures of music star Kanye West are no longer simply his fans, but his religious disciples… whether they want to be or not. That’s because West officially filed for tax exempt status in the United States this week, forming a new religion which he’s dubbed “The Church of Yeezus.”
The 37-year old rapper and self-described musical and creative genius is naming his 13 million Facebook fans and 11.9 million Twitter followers as “Disciples of Yeezus,” while naming “The Book of Yeezus,” a satirical book recently published on Etsy, as his new faith’s religious text.
If successful, West would no longer need to pay any form of taxes on record sales, tour dates, or book sales. He’d still owe taxes for performances in films, unless he or his new organization produces and distributes those films. And the unidentified author of “The Book of Yeezus” would enjoy tax-free sales of their book, too, but only if they agree to hand over the rights for that book to West and his new organization.
West’s legal team officially filed the request with the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday, April 7th, along with his 2014 tax returns, as well as those of his wife, Kim Kardashian. West’s lawyers note that he’s paying his taxes for 2014 in full, and has even waived a number of exemptions he was eligible for, all with the hopes that the IRS will acknowledge him as a religious figure and the head of his new church.
“We’re confident in our client’s case and that the IRS will acknowledge the status of this new faith,” says Allison Lutz, one of the nineteen lawyers representing West. “We made a strong and sound argument that Mr. West’s creative endeavors are providing a public good and a charitable benefit to his millions of followers, who benefit from those works in a multitude of ways.”
West’s lawyers cited the influence his work has had on numerous other artists, and are declaring his future record sales and other incomes as charitable donations to the Church of Yeezus. “His work has been spiritually uplifting to his believers,” Lutz explains. “When they listen to his music, that is the word thy God. That is the word thy Yeezus.”
But his lawyers also point out that no matter how solid Kanye West’s case may be, he still has an uphill battle to fight against the United States Government. Other recently-formed religious organizations have had a difficult time proving their status as such and earning tax-exempt status. The Church of Scientology, for instance, spent 26 years and countless millions battling with the IRS, going so far as to sue various IRS employees in their pursuit of tax exemption, finally winning the lengthy dispute in 1993.