A couple of days ago, Republican (yes, Republican) Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, initiated an investigation of the finances of six megachurches who are suspected of misusing huge amounts of their churches' assets.
I'll let the article speak for itself, but also - it's interesting to note that in the United States, religious organizations are not required to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. The vast majority of charitable non-profit organizations must submit a statement of their financial activities each year (usually IRS Form 990) despite being exempt from paying taxes.
I've worked for several (non-religious) non-profits during my career, and preparing tax returns for an organization is about as fun as preparing your own. Except with your own tax return, sometimes you get a refund.
Non-profit organizations usually have to have their financial activities audited by an independent Certified Public Accountant each year, since many large donors - such as foundations - require it. The tax return is usually created from the results of the audit to ensure maximum accuracy. This is a time-consuming and expensive progress. I've never been successful in getting a CPA firm to do an audit on a pro bono basis. Even for the smallest organization I worked for, the audit cost was about $3,000.
For churches to be exempt from this is unfair, at best. So unfair, that this investigation of megachurch-televangelists has inspired me to write a letter to my state's U.S. Senators. And you can do the same. Instructions on how to do so (and text for letter I wrote) are here.