Thursday, January 8, 2015

Canada Revenue Rejects GPTS Application

For several years, GPTS Trustee Bruce Vrieling, a resident of Canada, and Development Director Garry Moes have been seeking ways to have Greenville Seminary recognized as a charity to facilitate tax deductions for Canadian supporters. Canadian law requires tax-exempt charities to have a physical presence in the country, and all efforts on our part to receive recognition by the Canada Revenue Agency failed.

More recently, Mr. Vrieling, who is an alumnus of the seminary and serves as information technology director, tried another approach by seeking to have GPTS recognized as a "prescribed university" under Canadian income tax regulations.

Last month, Canada Revenue rejected our application for such status, stating:
  • We cannot confirm that Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary ordinarily includes Canadian students in the student body because the student information provided:
  • did not cover a ten year period; and/or
  • was not sufficient to establish that there was more than one Canadian student enrolled each year during the ten year period under review.
The information provided indicates that for 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014 there was only one verifiable Canadian student enrolled. 
The information provided did not confirm that Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is empowered, in its own right, to confer degrees of at least the baccalaureate level, according to the academic standards and statuary definitions prevailing in the country in which the school is located.
GPTS currently has three Canadian students, Tom Van Maanen, Adam Harris, and Martin Dendekker. Mr. Van Maanen is a senior student, Mr. Harris is a third-year student, and Mr. Dendekker is a first-year student. In addition to Mr. Vrieling's board membership, Rev. Jeff Kingswood, a Canadian pastor, serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees.

GPTS is authorized to grant degrees under South Carolina law, which does not require a formal application to do so from theological schools. However, it is not accredited by any government-recognized accrediting agency, although its academic program is accredited by the Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries, which is seeking recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.