Dove World faces federal income tax liens


FILE - Terry Jones, senior pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, speaks to the media on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 in Gainesville.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.

The leaders of the controversial Dove World Outreach Center face federal income tax liens totaling more than $101,000.

From February to June, the Internal Revenue Service filed three liens totaling approximately $101,098 against Terry D. and Sylvia Jones for unpaid income taxes in 2009, 2010 and 2011, according to circuit court records.

The liens mean that the IRS has put a legal claim on property owned by the Joneses because of unpaid tax debts.

The IRS lien records do not specify the source of income that the Joneses have failed to pay taxes on and IRS spokesman Mike Dobzinski said he could not provide that detail.

Terry Jones could not be reached for comment.

This is not the first time Dove World has drawn tax scrutiny.

While Dove World, a self-described charismatic Christian church, holds federal 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, the Alachua County Property Appraiser's Office put a portion of Dove World's property on the tax rolls in 2010 because of an online furniture sales business, TS & Company, that the Joneses and other church members run on site.

For 2011, the Dove World complex in northwest Gainesville had a listed market value of approximately $1.6 million and a taxable value of $120,700. Dove World paid approximately $2,900 in taxes.

It's uncertain if the furniture business that prompted the property appraiser to put a portion of the property on the rolls also led to the IRS tax liens.

Over the past few years, Dove World has gained local, national and sometimes international attention for its anti-homosexual and anti-Islam messages. Dove World has sent members' children to school wearing shirts emblazoned with "Islam is of the Devil," burned a copy of the Quran, posted "no homo mayor" signs on its property when Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe was running for office in 2010 and hanged an effigy of President Barack Obama in 2012.

After the sign with the anti-homosexual message went up during Lowe's campaign for mayor, Americans United for Separation of Church and State — a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C. — filed a complaint with the IRS seeking revocation of Dove World's tax-exempt status.

Currently, the federal nonprofit status remains in place.

Dobzinski said he could not comment on whether any investigation to potentially strip Dove World of its nonprofit status was ongoing or had occurred.

As it stands, Dove World is simultaneously a registered nonprofit organization and listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups active in the country.

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