Results 1 to 34 of 34

Thread: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Anyone want to put their oar in the water, pro or con?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    United States of Stupid
    Posts
    10,052

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    No.

    I think charity is one thing, if an organization gives to a charity or allocates funds for charitable acts then those funds should be an allowable tax write-off. There should also be a percentage that is allowed to be written off as overhead for the charity, say an additional 5% of the contribution.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    afloat with at least 6' of water under me.
    Posts
    61,932

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    McMike..The churches do a lot of charitable works..Kitchens for the homeless. Refuges for the homeless. to mention two

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    6,654

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Absolutely not; with neither oar.
    Nor should Religious 'Schools' be subsidized.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    11,922

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Not when they're money-making organizations.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    From the Bill of Rights:
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    However that doesn't seem relevant to the question of taxation of religious organizations, unless one wished to argue that taxation prohibited "the free exercise thereof."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    15,204

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Not when they're money-making organizations.
    or if they act as shills for political parties

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by S.V. Airlie View Post
    McMike..The churches do a lot of charitable works..Kitchens for the homeless. Refuges for the homeless. to mention two
    True, but there are some religious organizations that provide no services for the homeless or for anybody else.
    I know of a local "church" which receives donations from people in the community but does no charatable work. The donations go to the family that forms the core of the group. They occupy a building but pay no real estate tax.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    15,204

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    can you force a church to extend it's charity to believers of another faith than it's own?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by wardd View Post
    can you force a church to extend it's charity to believers of another faith than it's own?
    Forcing a church to extend itself to others would present problems, but if a church did so voluntarily that would be a real demonstration of confidence and faith.

    I'm not sure I would agree that they earned a tax break, but at least I'd be more favorably disposed toward them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    15,204

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shang View Post
    Forcing a church to extend itself to others would present problems, but if a church did so voluntarily that would be a real demonstration of confidence and faith.

    I'm not sure I would agree that they earned a tax break, but at least I'd be more favorably disposed toward them.
    my point, if a churches charity is restrictive should the broad spectrum of the public support it with tax relief

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    United States of Stupid
    Posts
    10,052

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by S.V. Airlie View Post
    McMike..The churches do a lot of charitable works..Kitchens for the homeless. Refuges for the homeless. to mention two

    And those works should be tax deductable, but not the church as a whole IMO.

    There is a whole street owned by a church in Milford, CT, they don't pay any property tax or income tax but they get rent from tenants that have nothing to do with charity.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by wardd View Post
    my point, if a churches charity is restrictive should the broad spectrum of the public support it with tax relief
    Quid pro quo, charitable works across the board, in exchange for tax breaks?
    The paperwork would be a nightmare, but the concept sounds viable.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    And those works should be tax deductable, but not the church as a whole IMO.

    There is a whole street owned by a church in Milford, CT, they don't pay any property tax or income tax but they get rent from tenants that have nothing to do with charity.
    And what about the mega-churches (not naming any names, but you know who they are), there's not a chance that their good works equal the value of their real estate holdings.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northwest Oregon coast
    Posts
    28,974

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    If i send my kids to Catholic school should i get a Voucher from the Gov taking off a percentage of my Property Taxes as I am not using their service.?.

    If i Go to a Catholic Hospital should i get a Waiver From Obamacare?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Baltimore Maryland
    Posts
    11,534

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    If my little church, whose members are slowly dying off, had to pay property tax on the church property (paid off long ago), it would bankrupt us.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
    Posts
    56,267

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    There were whole suburbs owned by the Catholic and Anglican church in Melbourne, mostly degraded housing and in my youth often just one tap cold water unsewered places. Slum landlords with no rates paid. I'm sure the properties are better but I'm sure the rate matter hasn't changed. OTOH the major churches carry a lot of the charitable load that allows governments to avoid their responsibilities. I'd say that on a local level it's probably a neutral situation, but some of the newer less ethical 'faiths' should be very carefully scrutinised. I have an old friend that reckons the christian churches should all be charged 2000 years back taxes on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,013

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Net income should be subject to income tax and real estate holdings subject to property tax. Otherwise taxpayers in general are subsidizing religious organizations.

    There's a person who owns a multimillion dollar waterfront property here on the island who declared the property, and, rumor has it, several others, to be Shinto Shrines. She pays no property tax. For a considerable fee you can attend gatherings at her shrine.
    Last edited by gibetheridge; 02-23-2011 at 06:01 PM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Chesapeake Beach, Md 20732 U.S.A.
    Posts
    26,725

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    I was ordained as a Pentecostal Minister when I left school in the fifties....90% of my male friends who were significantly native American blood did so. You were literally marched to class, escorted to sunday school and church, and there was no way out of it. It's probably the primary reason I left home and went into the military. I saw from the inside how many (most) of the "churches" were merely tax dodges for the "ministers" that were indoctrinating us.
    On the other hand, my nephews church engages in activities primarily in South America. They build churches, schools etc, take their own food and water down while there, usually 2-3 weeks at a time. Hold prayer meetings but do not require the attendance of the locals. Then leave after turning the buildings over to the village. They also adopt orphans and homeless children and send them to school, and each family sends their own charges to college.
    Niece's church is a similar set up.
    The other nephew has his own church and takes in wayward children and does much the same, he has 3 in college at the moment.
    Who would you grant tax free status to?
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by gibetheridge View Post
    Net income should be subject to income tax and real estate holdings subject to property tax. Otherwise taxpayers in general are subsidizing religious organizations.

    There's a person who owns a multimillion dollar waterfront property here on the island who declared the property, and, rumor has it, several others, to be Shinto Shrines. She pays no property tax. For a considerable fee you can attend gatherings at her shrine.
    Did I forget to mention that my place at the lake is The Chapel Above the Waters? My dock is The Shrine of the Holy Chris Craft...

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Tyler, Tx
    Posts
    293

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    I'm only an expert in paying taxes, I do that (unfortunately) to well. I know very little about the church and such taxes. But it seems that some churches are more like "Six Flags of GOD" amusement parks that doing the works of Jesus. I just left a church that was evolving into to such a church. It's what you do outside the doors of the church, than inside.

    But, yes they should pay taxes on their non charity money and property should be taxed the same. If the have a high dollar worship center and a low dollar health clinic. the property tax is on the worship center. But than sure would be a can of worms. The politicians seem to go to the big churches.
    KM Bever

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Perhaps churches should have to apply to the IRS for non profit status just like any other non profit organization does. There are thousands of non profit organizations that own costly real estate and pay handsome salaries, many of which do no charitable work at all, so the broad brush complaints about churches being money makers fail to hold water, and frankly smack of anti religious prejudice.

    The process for applying for non profit status is VERY thorough and should separate the worthy from the not, just as it already does with countless other organizations.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Savannah, GA
    Posts
    6,734

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    You can say that again, Judge.
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w...esMan/?start=0

    and here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37973275@N03/

    "All kings are not the same."

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    My Church Above the Waters’ charitable projects includes “The Claustrophobics of America Social House.” To make the claustrophobics feel comfortable the structure has no walls, roof or floor. This makes it somewhat difficult to see, but if you wish to contribute just make the check to the initials of the charity: C.A.S.H.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Chesapeake Beach, Md 20732 U.S.A.
    Posts
    26,725

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    I think anytime a church starts getting into politics of any kind, their tax exemption goes in the bucket.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    I think anytime a church starts getting into politics of any kind, their tax exemption goes in the bucket.
    Agreed.
    They can't have it both ways.

    Uhh... what if we applied that plan to large corporations too...!
    Oh, I forgot, the Supreme Court said corporations could mess with politics and get tax breaks too.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Newport Beach , Ca.
    Posts
    1,635

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    It would be interesting to see how this country would work without all the loop holes , and special treatment , everyone equal .

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Chesapeake Beach, Md 20732 U.S.A.
    Posts
    26,725

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    My Church Above the Waters’ charitable projects includes “The Claustrophobics of America Social House.” To make the claustrophobics feel comfortable the structure has no walls, roof or floor. This makes it somewhat difficult to see, but if you wish to contribute just make the check to the initials of the charity: C.A.S.H.
    The money will go to a good cause.China Post 1, American Legion, Shanghai, China, in exile since WWII, Our secretary bookkeeper was Charles A.S. Helseth, so CASH on the name line works for us, and we do good works.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    29,864

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shang View Post
    From the Bill of Rights:
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    However that doesn't seem relevant to the question of taxation of religious organizations, unless one wished to argue that taxation prohibited "the free exercise thereof."
    To my way of thinking that only applies to freedom of belief, not freedom from taxation. Pray but pay your dues.
    To do something good
    with no
    Because.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NZ
    Posts
    2,296

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    there is no way I want my taxes to enrich or subsidise people who molest children, act like hucksters or talk to invisible people and think Im abnormal because I dont
    whatever rocks your boat

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks USA
    Posts
    10,030

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
    there is no way I want my taxes to enrich or subsidise people who molest children, act like hucksters or talk to invisible people and think Im abnormal because I dont
    I bet you don't think that all of the animals on earth lived within walking distance of Noah's house.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    56,285

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Here's an outline of the history and rationale. Unlerlining is mine:


    Well, until the United States Constitution was amended to allow income taxes there was no need for federal income tax exemptions. But then the Congress started exempting. The reason and history is well told starting on page 9 of
    http://tinyurl.com/ys4zna
    which follows:

    Since the founding of the United States and even in the earlier colonial
    period, tax exemption—particularly with respect to religious organiza-
    tions—was common. Churches were openly and uniformly spared taxation.
    This practice has been sustained throughout the nation’s history—not only at
    the federal but at the state and local levels as well, most significantly with
    property taxation. The U.S. Supreme Court, soon after the commencement of
    the nation’s tax system, concluded that the foregoing rationalization was the
    basis for the federal tax exemption for charitable entities. In 1924, the Court
    noted that “[e]vidently the exemption is made in recognition of the benefit
    which the public derives from corporate activities of the class named, and is
    18
    intended to aid them when not conducted for private gain.” Many years
    later, the Court, in upholding the constitutionality of the tax exemption for
    religious organizations, observed that “[t]he State has an affirmative policy
    that considers these groups as beneficial and stabilizing influences in com-
    munity life and finds this classification [tax exemption] useful, desirable,
    19
    and in the public interest.”


    In respect to the exemption for charitable organizations, a federal court of
    appeals wrote that “[o]ne stated reason for a deduction or exemption of this
    kind is that the favored entity performs a public service and benefits the pub-
    20
    lic or relieves it of a burden which otherwise belongs to it.” One federal court
    wrote that the reason for the charitable contribution deduction has “histori-
    cally been that by doing so, the Government relieves itself of the burden of
    meeting public needs which in the absence of charitable activity would fall on
    21
    the shoulders of the Government.”
    One of the rare congressional pronouncements on this subject is further
    evidence of this public policy aspect of the rationale. In its committee report ac-
    companying the Revenue Act of 1938, the House Committee on Ways and
    Means stated:
    The exemption from taxation of money or property devoted to charitable
    and other purposes is based upon the theory that government is compen-
    sated for the loss of revenue by its relief from financial burden which
    would otherwise have to be met by appropriations from public funds, and
    22
    by the benefits resulting from the promotion of the general welfare.


    So...what it boils down to in my mind is that the nation believes that churches add sufficiently to the social fabric to justify foregoing potential tax revenue.
    Last edited by David G; 02-24-2011 at 03:23 PM.

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Northeastern USA
    Posts
    5,404

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    Your donations to a church are tax deductible to you individually. The church doesn't pay income tax on it. The cleric who lives in the parsonage paid for by those donations gets additional tax breaks. And the entire congregation uses the community resources like police, fire, roads, etc. without paying property tax.

    It doesn't seem fair, especially as to property tax. If I want to start an agnostic temple (atheists welcome), I don't get any of those breaks -- even if my agnostic minister preaches the very same social and moral code as the mainstream religions. Even if I can qualify as a non-profit for tax purposes, I've still got to pay local property taxes, unlike the church next door.

    Then again, I think the home mortgage deduction is unfair . . .

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    St. Simon\'s Island, GA, USA
    Posts
    5,704

    Default Re: Should religious organizations be tax sheltered?

    It depends on whether they are in competition with other businesses. Many years ago my mother ran a nursery school In Darien Connecticut. She complained, and rightly so, that she was in competition with one of the local churches which was running a nursery school on their tax free buildings and land. Was that fair? Their children were not charity cases, especially in Darien.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •