The Samoa District Court is expected to be packed tomorrow morning when leaders of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa appear for the first time to answer to charges of failing to file tax returns.
The church's chairman, Tauti'aga Senara, and his deputy, Tunumoso Iosia, are scheduled to be the first to appear of more than ten ministers charged so far under a new law which compels all church ministers to pay taxes on donations from church members.
The church has defied the law since its governing body, the Fono Tele, voted earlier this year to oppose it.
The Minister for Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, has said that the charges against more than 130 ministers will be staggered to avoid congestion at court.
Not only have some church ministers been charged, but some have had money deducted from their bank accounts by the Ministry for Revenue.
The Fone Tele summoned all its church ministers to a meeting last week to confirm that the decision remained, and called for solidarity in opposing the tax.
It governs 361 congregations in Samoa, Australia, New Zealand and USA. Village based congregations in Samoa total 191.
Rev Elder Senara presides as head of a conference of 30 congregations and Rev Elder Iosia 21.
Opposition from church members is expected to be strong with elders from overseas based congregations in the country to offer support.