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Members of the Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ in Kyrgyzstan are facing a tax bill which threatens to close the church. According to Vasili Kuzin, senior pastor of the church, this is the reason behind the taxes.

The head office for the church, based in the capital of Bishkek, was assessed with taxes, penalties and fines totaling 4,822,839 soms ($154,000.00 CDN). The church appealed to the Finance Ministry, but on August 15, the inspectorate's decision was upheld.

The church contends that the taxes are against the constitution and the tax laws, which state that "Non-profit social organisations involved in charitable activity are free from taxation." Forum 18 has contacted the deputy chair of the Kyrgyzstan Committee for Religious Affairs, Natalya Shadrova, who says that they will look into the situation.

The Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ claims to be one of the fastest growing churches in Kyrgyzstan, with 9,500 members and 30 affiliate congregations around the country. Several of the local congregations have been denied government registration and have been forced to close. Pray that this situation will be resolved quickly. Pray also for a continued outreach to the ethnic Kyrgyz, who are historically Muslim.