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Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:23 PM

Does anyone else think it's time to tax the churches?

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Reply Does anyone else think it's time to tax the churches? (Original post)
Playinghardball Dec 2012 OP
2naSalit Dec 2012 #1
SugarShack Dec 2012 #130
JustABozoOnThisBus Dec 2012 #132
2naSalit Dec 2012 #151
Pisces Dec 2012 #2
rainin Dec 2012 #3
3catwoman3 Dec 2012 #120
SugarShack Dec 2012 #131
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #158
Initech Dec 2012 #4
phantom power Dec 2012 #5
MANative Dec 2012 #6
Freddie Stubbs Dec 2012 #7
FreeState Dec 2012 #12
Freddie Stubbs Dec 2012 #165
ReasonableToo Dec 2012 #54
dballance Dec 2012 #57
Freddie Stubbs Dec 2012 #166
dballance Dec 2012 #171
adieu Dec 2012 #64
AlbertCat Dec 2012 #87
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #112
Freddie Stubbs Dec 2012 #167
Union Scribe Dec 2012 #139
_ed_ Dec 2012 #145
Freddie Stubbs Dec 2012 #169
fadedrose Dec 2012 #8
MynameisBlarney Dec 2012 #41
The Second Stone Dec 2012 #9
cali Dec 2012 #10
rainin Dec 2012 #11
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #161
spartan61 Dec 2012 #13
arthritisR_US Dec 2012 #14
Union Scribe Dec 2012 #138
arthritisR_US Dec 2012 #141
cordelia Dec 2012 #168
peacebird Dec 2012 #15
rock Dec 2012 #16
Ernesto Dec 2012 #17
shrdlu Dec 2012 #18
former9thward Dec 2012 #19
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former9thward Dec 2012 #35
pediatricmedic Dec 2012 #74
former9thward Dec 2012 #95
AlexSatan Dec 2012 #37
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #61
AlbertCat Dec 2012 #89
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LTX Dec 2012 #92
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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:25 PM

1. Without a doubt.

Absolutely!! They need to be taxed too.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:35 AM

130. Hell no! when you allow that, they are allowed at the table to make law.

 

They cross that line already, and you don't seem to like it..

Be careful what you ask for!

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Response to SugarShack (Reply #130)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:23 AM

132. They're already at the table

Advocating from the pulpit, very common.

Electing "Manchurian Candidates", like Rick Santorum to congress.

Tax them.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #132)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:01 PM

151. And...

If you take a look at the STATE UNIVERSITIES in Idaho, for example... all three of them, they have engaged in "land swaps" whereby the church owns property that is for the use of LDS students only with free meals, tutors, student unions, computer labs and other subsidies that the rest of the students don't have readily available without paying additional fees. And, these land swaps were used to allow the church to trade off crumbling buildings for the state and the nonLDS students to cover the costs of either raising or upgrading, all of which was a cost far higher than the value of the property the church absconded with... and taking up entire city blocks while "commoner" buildings languish for upgrades. That all happened in the early 90s-2000s. Most of the faculty has been replaced by church members for the majority and all the pres. and upper admin positions are also LDS folks. The legislators of ID and UT are most certainly dominated by LDS and many of the local gov'ts in MT, ID, UT, WY and NV are LDS dominated...

So don't think they aren't already in a position where they don't foist their beliefs on a large portion of the population/legal system in the country. Pay attention, a large number of the Teabagger clowns and misguided individuals in the Rocky Mountain west are LDS, authentic Zionist zealots. And I don't mean to disparage religions but this is for real in that region just as other religious groups practice zealotry and legislative domination in other regions. The first Amendment is supposed to prohibit this but what I am trying to point out is that it is failing the rest of us by not doing so. Taxation is key in reining in this religion-creep phenomena that seems to crop up a couple times a century.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:26 PM

2. Absolutely!!!!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:27 PM

3. Especially Christian churches.

Bill O says that Christianity isn't a religion, it's a philosophy. Why are we giving all these philosophers tax breaks? Explain that one Bill-O. Here's the video for those who missed it.



I know, he came back later and changed his tune, but still, he doesn't get to erase it. We have the video.

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Response to rainin (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:47 PM

120. The Catholic priests...

... who educated him at Chaminade high school in NY would probably disagree. My now-agnostic husband is also an alum of the school, and grumbles disparagingly any time he hears anything from Bill-O.

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Response to rainin (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:36 AM

131. Just imagine the Mormon money working for them. We may all have to wear their underwear!

 

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Response to rainin (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:11 PM

158. You can't do that constitutionally

Taxing one religion or one sect of religion's churches but not others would be a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:28 PM

4. There was a church in my area that spent $45 million on a new building this year.

Why aren't they taxed on this wealth? Our government is going broke - it's way past time to end the free ride.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:29 PM

5. Here is why I think we should tax churches...

because "not taxing churches" puts the govt in the business of deciding what is or is not a church, and giving special privileges (tax exemption) to whoever they decide "is one." And the govt isn't supposed to be in that business.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:29 PM

6. Long past time. Tax them like the businesses they are. n/t

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:30 PM

7. Do you want to tax all non-profit organizations, or just religious ones?

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:34 PM

12. I would not tax charitable organizations

that use over 90% of their revenue on actual services.

I do not see churches as non-profit organizations - they may offer services to their members or, like the the Church in the picture above, the wealthiest church in the USA, it gives less than 1% of a portion of its revenue to charities outside its own faith.

edit to add source:

http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/62364-how-the-mormons-make-money

According to an official church Welfare Services fact sheet, the church gave $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid in more than 178 countries and territories during the 25 years between 1985 and 2010. A fact sheet from the previous year indicates that less than one-third of the sum was monetary assistance, while the rest was in the form of “material assistance.” All in all, if one were to evenly distribute that $1.3 billion over a quarter-century, it would mean that the church gave $52 million annually. A study co-written by Cragun and recently published in Free Inquiry estimates that the Mormon Church donates only about 0.7 percent of its annual income to charity; the United Methodist Church gives about 29 percent.

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Response to FreeState (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:45 AM

165. Why is it relevant if if it a charity 'outside its own faith?'

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:21 PM

54. I'd give them deduction for certain activities.

...for the community - as long as they dont lead the participants in prayer and they don't require membership to receive. Food bank and meals for homeless come to mind.

I hear some churches have vacation homes, shopping malls etc. tax those.

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:24 PM

57. Why is your question even relevant to this debate?

No one said tax non-profits. Churches like the Catholic Church and the Mormon church are hardly non-profits. Have you seen the Vatican or the Temple in Utah? If, in light of seeing such things, you still want to call them "non-profit" organizations that's your choice. Priests take a vow of poverty but from what I can see most of them are living pretty well in church rectories and the Vatican.

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Response to dballance (Reply #57)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:48 AM

166. Are you are saying that nonprofits with buildings under a certain size should be exempt from tax?

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #166)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:38 PM

171. Oh Please

Last edited Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:16 PM - Edit history (1)

No I didn't say or imply that. Try to stop misdirecting the argument with more questions that are not relevant.

If you have some valid response to my assertion the Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic Church are hardly non-profits as evidenced by huge amount of wealth/assets they seem to be retaining rather than using to help "the least of these" lets hear it.

There are many fine non-profits that haven't built a Vatican City or huge Temples or a billion-dollar mall and use the majority of their proceeds in their charitable work. I used to volunteer for one and we were quite proud we were an all volunteer organization with no paid staff. Well over 80% of the annual half-billion plus donations we collected went out to charitable deeds and in grants to other very deserving organizations.

I'm just pointing out I don't think the Mormon Church or the Roman Catholic Church are one of those organizations.

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:42 PM

64. The non-profit arm of the church

Can stay as non-profit and do its usual 501(c)(...) charitable duties. People donating to the church would have to itemize where the money goes and then, that money will have to be scrutinized, much like any other charitable organization.

And, clearly, there are some non-profits that really ought to be taxed, like the Komen Foundation and some of the supposedly non-profits which were really superPACs. Same goes with some colleges non-profit side.

Basically, if you're a soup kitchen that gets monetary donations and that money is tracked and one can see how the money is used, then that's a non-profit that stays tax-free (except for the money paid to the directors or other salaried/wage earning people, where the money is then taxed as income taxes for those people). But, if you're a bundler like the Susan G Komen Foundation, then I have some problems with some amount of that money.

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:25 PM

87. I say...

Tax businesses owned by the churches,

And property like land and buildings. (Y'know they can build a huge mansion with a pool and tennis courts, call it the rectory and it not be taxed)

And maybe exempt them up to a certain size. This might have the welcomed effect of dampening mega-churches.

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:53 PM

112. You always ask the question. Why dont you tell us how you feel? nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #112)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:50 AM

167. I oppose taxing non-profits

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:16 PM

139. A few of them have let slip their real agenda.

Especially that pleasant "burn them down" post downthread that a jury let stand. This isn't about tax revenue.

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:22 PM

145. Real non-profits

don't build castles with their money like the Mormons. And they don't pay out a billion dollars to protect their child rapists like the Catholics.

When is the last time Unicef or Doctors Without Borders built a castle?

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #145)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:56 AM

169. UNICEF is an part of the UN. They have a big fancy building sitting on prime real estate

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:30 PM

8. Yes.

They have a lot of input in politics influencing the voter to vote for certain candidates and pass laws that agree with their theology. This violates separation of church and state, so if they want to play, they need to pay...

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:00 PM

41. I think they should be taxed

but not given anymore ability to influence politics than they do already.
They've done quite enough damage.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:31 PM

9. Churches, corporations, charities

as it is, taxes fall most heavily on the poor and those with no voice. All taxes could come down in rate if all exceptions were removed. All deductions should be dollar amount limited.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:31 PM

10. it would be difficult to achieve taxation of churches

due to SCOTUS precedent. It would take a very liberal court.

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Response to cali (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:33 PM

11. Obama, give us a liberal court. n/t

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Response to rainin (Reply #11)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:21 PM

161. Not sure that would help

Justice Brennan was the first to uphold a state exempting churches from taxation.

I don't believe that he or the Court ever held that the exemption was constitutionally mandated, only that exempting non-profits is permitted. But exempting secular non-profits but not churches would pose some constitutional issues.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:35 PM

13. Absolutely!!!

We left our church (Catholic) a couple of months before the election because of an article that was printed in the church bulletin. The article was pro Romney and anti-Obama. I wrote a letter to the priest saying why we were leaving the church and if they want to be political they should lose their tax exempt status. Politics should not be spoken from the pulpit or the church bulletin and we strongly believe in the separation of church and state.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:40 PM

14. Long overdo! I would love to tax them into

oblivion

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Response to arthritisR_US (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:15 PM

138. Aaaaaaand the real motive appears. nt

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Response to Union Scribe (Reply #138)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:18 PM

141. Sorry, I don't understand

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Response to Union Scribe (Reply #138)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:53 AM

168. Took longer than I expected, actually.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:54 PM

15. Yes.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:56 PM

16. When have I not thought this

When I was old enough to know what they were talking about and found out the churches were not taxed, I asked, "Why?" I still do.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:05 PM

17. Works for me.......... NT

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:27 PM

18. Indeed!

Fadedrose is correct. They should pay to play. The recent election had the most widespread and egregious politicking from the pulpit I've witnessed in more than fifty years of voting

Thanks for the topic.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:37 PM

19. You can't pick and choose among non-profits.

They all have to be taxed or none of them. Taxing non-profits would destroy most of them. Some of the real big ones would survive but most wouldn't so that is why there would be no political will to do this. Also churches would argue (I think successfully) that it would be a violation of the First Amendment. The power to tax is the power to destroy and that would violate the free exercise clause of the First amendment.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:43 PM

24. Surely only profits would be taxed? And non-profits don't make a profit?

My understanding is that commercial businesses that do not make a profit are not taxed that year. So how would a non-profit ever be taxed? Let alone be taxed enough to "destroy" it?

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:55 PM

35. They would be taxed on their income (donations).

Also their contributors would lose a tax deduction and many would no longer contribute. If there is nothing to be taxed then what is the purpose of this thread?

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Response to former9thward (Reply #35)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:01 PM

74. Your idea would hurt a lot of nonprofits with no religious affiliation, it would actually kill kids

Attacking the contributor would cause pretty much all charity to come to a standstill. The Red Cross(a religious organization btw) would not have had anything to give out during Sandy or any other disaster. Women's shelters would lose funding as most of that is donations. Food banks would be empty, as they rely on donations as well. A lot of programs that help the poor and minorities would also stop as well. Then there are donations to schools, first responders, groups like the SPCA/PETA, conservation groups, etc.

Most children's hospitals run as nonprofits and rely on donations to do the work they do. Cutting the source of funding means we don't do the treatments many depend on. We simply won't have the staff or resources to do the treatments without funding. This affects the place I work for and my patients.

I am all about helping people and charitable donations are a wonderful thing to have.

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Response to pediatricmedic (Reply #74)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:06 PM

95. Not my idea.

It was the OP's.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:56 PM

37. What profit do churches have?

 

Most churches I know use their entire budget towards salaries, building or charitable efforts.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:36 PM

61. OK, that's what I'm missing. Profit = Income - Expenses.

So if the entire income is spent, what is there to tax? Obviously I am not an accountant.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:30 PM

89. What profit do churches have?

Their land and buildings should be taxed.

And their businesses.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #89)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:38 PM

91. So the same should happen to all non-profits, right?

 

Otherwise the churches are being specifically targeted, which kind of goes against that Constitution thingy.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #91)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:05 PM

94. Do non-profits get a rectory tax free?

Do non-profit build their own buildings?

Do non-profits print books and have TV channels?

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #94)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:08 PM

98. Non profits do a lot of those things.

If churches make a profit off of commercial enterprises they pay taxes now.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #98)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:10 PM

99. Non profits do a lot of those things.

Really? Which ones?... not connected with churches? I really don't know.

I mean, what does Doctors Without Borders print lots of books and produce videos?

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Response to former9thward (Reply #98)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:16 PM

105. Stop it!!!

 

Facts are really annoying to someone on an illogical rant against their personal boogeyman!

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #89)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:45 PM

92. Which would effectively eliminate the vast majority of religious facilities.

What you are proposing is discrimination against, and in reality elimination of, small churches, synagogues, and mosques in favor of the mega-facility that you seem to think (wrongly) dominates the religious landscape in the US. I am surprised that anyone would favor a concentration of unfettered political power into a handful of super-sized churches.

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Response to LTX (Reply #92)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:08 PM

97. in reality elimination of, small churches, synagogues, and mosques i

So exempt churches up to a certain size. Like I said up-thread, this might hold down the number of mega-churches.

And maybe, if it's so important, the congregation can dig a little deeper when the collection plate comes around.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #97)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:12 PM

100. Does that mean you will just target large

 

non-profits?

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #97)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:19 PM

106. How would you avoid discrimination claims?

First, define what you mean by large and small. Will it be an arbitrary cut-off of, say, 100 members, thereby penalizing the religious facility with 101 members? Then, what do you do with a community that has, say, twelve "small" christian churches and one large synagogue, or mosque if you prefer?

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Response to LTX (Reply #92)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:17 PM

140. Yep.

Good post. They don't get that they'd be making the mega-churches they hate even more powerful.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:35 AM

123. Yes we can pick and choose - when some are acting as lobbying arms rather than non-profits

the IRS regs are there and we need to prosecute for that behavior.

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Response to TBF (Reply #123)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 11:07 AM

134. No you can't.

The Constitution does not allow that kind of selective taxation. If a non-profit is violating its status then the IRS can revoke its non-profit status. The IRS is not going to crack down on churches and politics because it would affect both parties and when something affects both parties it just isn't going to happen. That is the real world not the world of internet posting.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #134)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 09:58 AM

163. "If a non-profit is violating its status then the IRS can revoke its non-profit status" -

can and should.

Sure, right now the churches are keeping the masses in line, which benefits both parties, but at some point that will fall apart. The top 1% has gotten too greedy and people can only take so much. Conditions will dictate as they always have historically.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:37 PM

20. I'm tired of subsidizing these con-jobs. n/t

 

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:39 PM

21. Should have done lhat long time ago!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:41 PM

22. It's waaaaay overdue!

Not gonna happen though.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:42 PM

23. They should at LEAST be taxed the same amount as big Corporations....

oh wait..

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:45 PM

25. yes tax them

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:46 PM

26. Absolutely

Especially since they take,"indirectly" political positions. We know that many of them try to influence their flock.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:47 PM

27. I do not buy their numbers.

There isn't that much money in churches. "Everyone would only have to pay 3%..."

Please.

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Response to Unca Jim (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:49 PM

29. Would Jesus wear a Rolex on the TV on Sunday?

 

Churches are the biggest grift in history.

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Response to Unca Jim (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:03 PM

115. Yeah, I tend to ignore random numbers thrown around on the internets.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:48 PM

28. It was never time to STOP taxing them.

 

Exempting churches from taxes was the biggest government giveaway in history.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:51 PM

30. Particularly

If they play politics from the pulpit.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:51 PM

31. Has Been a Pet Peeve...

of mine for decades.
Yes they do a lot of good, but they DO NOT have the right to influence our politics with tax-free money.
They have had tax-exempt status from the outset and have conducted themselves like a business.
They have income (some of it quite exorbinanate) and have no accounting for it.
They have employees and don't have to pay the taxes every other business in our country is subject to.

Absolutely Tax the Churches!!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:52 PM

32. Every last church and cult...

Tax them all, and raise it higher for the miscreant cults like the ones that picket dead soldiers funerals or run campaigns like the one the mormons did in California against gay marriage. If you participate politically in ANY way, your taxes are doubled.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:53 PM

33. The amount of abuse of tax-exempt status by churches AND other kinds of non-profits is staggering

 

Tax them all, then let God sort them out.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:53 PM

34. I think it is past time to check ALL the non-profits to make sure they are what they say they are.

First, I'd start off with all the Republican groups where the faithful who have fallen from grace are hidden in some think tank, paid a decent salary and told to keep their mouths shut `til they die. Then, I'd check the charities to find out what percentage of the donations go to salaries/perks, and then get the message out to those who are scamming the public, fine them and remove them from the tax-free rolls. Then, if the churches haven't found religion and straightened up their act, I would pull their tax-free status, as well.

I think there are churches that follow the rules and deserve the tax-free status, as some do a lot of community good, but there are a lot who are scamming the parishioners, as well as the IRS.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:58 PM

39. This is a post I can agree with.

(Or with which I can agree).

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:56 PM

36. It's much, much more complicated than all of this.

First, this picture is bullshit. 3%? I doubt it. Churches hold wealth, but enough so we'd all have to pay just 3%? I doubt it.

Second, what are you going to tax? Churches operate as non-profits. They don't make "profits" like corporations. They take in money, sure, but taxing that money would be like taxing corporate revenue rather than corporate profits.

You could feasibly tax their property, but that's all done at the state and local level.

One way to do it would be to make it where contributions to churches would no longer be tax-deductible. If churches were smart, they'd tell their members to contribute to their charitable arms rather than to the church directly (or, more to the former, less to the latter).

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Response to ParkieDem (Reply #36)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:15 PM

51. Then tax the AARP, and Labor Unions, etc?

Your point is spot on about the difference between taxing revenues and taxing profits. My question is where do you draw the line with this. What other organizations provide services to the people from whom they get their money, and then also dabble a bit in politics? Do they all start getting taxed?

It seems the better way to approach it would be dealing with the question about whether charitable donations, union dues, etc. should be tax deductible in the first place.

Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, the math is a bit suspect. Removing the tax exemption from churches would reportedly raise $71 billion in taxes, not even 1/10 of what is collected in individual income tax returns.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:57 PM

38. Tax the churches or else.....

Since the republicans think that the churches/religion should take care of people instead of the government, then the churches should be required to serve the poor.
Any taxes the churches would owe, should be required to give directly to the service of the poor.
Otherwise, they should be made to pay taxes the same as any business. This money could then be used for as it is supposed to be, for the poor.

Any church whose pastor who uses his position in church or a religious setting and speaks about politics should lose their tax exempt status.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:59 PM

40. Yes Sir.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:02 PM

42. I've been thinking that for a while now.

Even if it's just a bit - start somewhere.

Churches benefit from the community

We would be showing them respect by taxing them at a low rate.

We should - especially now - when the churchs have gotten their foot in the door
by bitching about contraception and women's healty rights. They want in on the
fight then they need to buy a ticket!

Sometimes, a low profile is better than speaking up about what rights you think you have...

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:04 PM

43. Absolutely ..

Yes, Yes..and yes!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:06 PM

44. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:07 PM

45. yes. long past time.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:07 PM

46. Amen!

K&R

Yes, it's long past time to tax the churches, especially the one in this picture. If they claim allegiance to a political party, they are no longer a church. They are an arm of that political party. And they should be taxed retroactively to the year they started preaching politics from the pulpit.

Of course, this wouldn't be happening if the IRS had enforced the standing rules that govern their classification as a church.

Two wrongs don't make a right. Fix it, one way or the other. Get politics out of religion, or sever their non-profit status. Period.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:08 PM

47. burn them down

 

or let the homeless live in them

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #47)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:57 PM

93. Anti-theism on steroids. n/t

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Response to LTX (Reply #93)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:06 PM

96. anti-humanist bigot on goofballs

 

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #96)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:14 PM

101. Bigot?

My goodness. Well, I certainly don't want to be accused of bigotry. So I guess I am forced to agree with you that synagogues must be burned down. In your peculiar version of reality, I suppose that would prove my lack of bigotry.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #47)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:20 PM

144. Yeah, like the Birmingham church bombing!

Wouldn't it be great if there were more hate crimes??

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Response to Union Scribe (Reply #144)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:32 PM

149. It's not a hate crime if you agree with it.

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Response to Union Scribe (Reply #144)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:34 PM

152. yep. religion is filled with hate

 

and churches are sewers of hate.

what do you have against humanity?

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #152)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:59 AM

170. What do you have against the humanity

that attends churches?

Talk about hate.

Hypocrite.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:10 PM

48. Churches should be taxed.

There should not be faith-based funding from the govrnment as we are a secular nation.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:13 PM

49. Should have been done long ago.

If Churches in this country become involved in politics (and they have at every level from local to national) they need to help pay for what government does.

Our federal budget deficit would instantly be far smaller as well.

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Response to another_liberal (Reply #49)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:22 PM

55. 6%

Just to be accurate on the math, the budget deficit would be 6.4% smaller than it was last year if the reported $71 billion in exemptions were instead collected by the government.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:14 PM

50. Churches Want To Be TAXED



...so they can go wild politically They actuall hate their tax exempt status..

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Response to rsmith6621 (Reply #50)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 05:26 PM

113. They can relinquish their tax exempt status at any time.

It's not forced on them.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:16 PM

52. Does anyone else think it's time to tax the churches?

Actually your taxes would go up by no less than 10% if we were to tax the Churches like a business. Plus it would be a direct assault on the First Amendment.

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Response to The CCC (Reply #52)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:52 PM

111. The tax exemption is not Constitutional. The government should not be funding religions. nm

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:17 PM

53. Yes it past due...

let them pay taxes like the rest of us contributors to our society.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:23 PM

56. If they used their money to actually help the poor it would be one thing,

but if they operate more as businesses they should be taxed as such.

And no, I don't count proselytizing as helping the poor.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:24 PM

58. More and more the preaching comes to politics.

Last edited Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:08 PM - Edit history (1)

If an institution does this , I feel strongly that it should pay taxes! It's not only a good idea , it's the law!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:32 PM

59. Churches, universities and hospitals are all tax free and maybe ...

They should pay property tax.
Sound draconian? I agree.
I'm not sure what can be done but it's clear that something is needed.
Hospitals and colleges are notorious real estate buyers and every square inch is off a city's tax list.
Harvard University has an endowment of tens of billions and is a rabid real estate buyer ... all of it tax free, and they still charge enormous tuitions.
Most cities have a large hospital that seem to always be expanding and buying property.
I do not doubt that health care and education are important but the political and financial power of large hospitals and universities leads to wanton acquisition of property and political power and to waste and extravagance.
To call these institutions non-profit is a real stretch.
If they are tax-free then they should be required to give something tangible back to the community like affordable health care and affordable tuition.

Contributions to non-profits should be taxed at some nominal rate that would still provide an incentive to donate.
Suppose it was 10%. What's the problem

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Response to Vox Moi (Reply #59)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:48 PM

68. Churches, universities and hospitals are all tax free and maybe ...

How would you determine an accessed valuation for a church? Any business worth its salt takes a Capital Depreciation allowance. So in a few years the building isn't "worth" anything for tax purposes. Paying to build and operate a church building is a money costing operation. Not a money maker. Most preachers make little to no money for their preaching. So that's a wash. Do we start taxing people for their political beliefs?

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:33 PM

60. Yes Yes

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:37 PM

62. You can only tax churches if you tax ALL non-profit orgs.

Churches aren't exempt from taxes because they're churches. They're exempt because they are registered non-profits, under the same code as cancer research foundations and educational organizations.

All non-profits are subject to the same rules about electioneering and political activity.

You can't tax churches just because they're churches. That would be unconstitutional.

I am all for investigating illegal political activity of religious orgs on a case by case basis.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #62)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:19 PM

81. Good point!

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #62)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:26 PM

147. I don't get this

There are at least 17 different types of non-profits recognized by the IRS, with all of them having different tax implications. Labor Unions, country clubs, VEBA plans, outside pension plans, etc. are all 501(c) organizations -- just not necessarily 501(c)3.

One reason a lot of non-profits are not taxed on income (see country club) is that they generally don't earn anything over time, thus wouldn't owe anything, but it would create a lot of paperwork. However, donations and money given to them does not generate a deduction on the giver's return.

IMHO, it entangles the government too deeply into churches to tax them directly, and provides too big of a cudgel for a politically motivated government. The only change I would make is that donations to churches cannot be deducted from the donors taxes. The churches could still form a charitable arm for true charitable work, but it would be subject to the same rules as every other charity.

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Response to Sgent (Reply #147)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:35 PM

150. Churches fall under 501(c)(3) along with certain other types of non-profit orgs

Churches that meet the requirements of IRC section 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS .

Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because such recognition assures church leaders, members, and contributors that the church is recog- nized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits . For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contri- butions generally are tax-deductible .


http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf (PDF with lots of details)

The point is, if you're giving tax-exempt status to organizations that meet certain conditions, you can't refuse that to a church simply because it's a church. If they meet all the conditions to qualify for tax exemption then they must be treated the same as any other non-profit.

I am all for investigating violations of the restrictions on political activity and disqualifying those churches that violate it.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #150)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:24 PM

154. Yes and no

Churches are given 501(c)(3) status because they are churches -- not due to their other activities. The definition of 501c3 includes churches -- and they do not have to apply for that status. Churches currently have a special status in the law because if you took the religion portion away, the only status they would be eligible for would be the same as an American Legion or VFW hall -- which are not 501c3's.

There's no reason that churches should have the same status as charities. You can certainly have a sister organization, with (for instance) an interlocking board of directors that provides charity as defined for every other type of 501(c)(3).

TL;DR Churches already get explicitly special status under the law. They should be treated the same as every other club or organization.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #62)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:15 PM

159. Exactly

If you tax churches but not other non-profits it would be a serious free exercise clause problem. You would have to treat all non-profits the same.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:38 PM

63. No however....

I think we should take a harder look at those who cross the line between 'Separation of Church & State'

For every church that crosses the line like this one there are dozens that barely eek by on the money they make and yet still reach out to help others who need help.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:42 PM

65. Only the churches that openly endorse one candidate or party over another.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:44 PM

66. absolutely

it is about time they get taxed

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:45 PM

67. Yes!!!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:51 PM

69. Unite! and Join me a New Movement to Tax all religious church property!

should be taxed.

Let's start with property tax first. If you own a home or a business you are subsidizing all the non-profit religious organizations in your country. For the entire USA that means more than $1.5 trillion in untaxed church property including:

churches, schools, diocesan offices, bishops residences, clergy residences, cemeteries, hospitals, universities, retreat facilities, youth camps, megachurches, store front churches, convents, seminaries and all the companies who supply products to those churches including wine, hosts and religious items.

I did a study two years ago which included Wisconsin assessors office and spoke to the State Assessor. My goal was to find out how to calculate the total amount of untaxed church property in that state. He said I would have to go county by county and look at each county map and then make an assumption about the value of that plot. I told him that sounded very difficult, couldn't I just purchase a report from his office? His reply was this: "We don't keep those values because if we did we'd have to publish them and if we did publish them, that would make a lot of people very, very angry."

I also did state by state review of their websites trying to locate these amounts. Few provide that information.

It is very possible that people who are fed up with the interference of these churches in politics, start local movements within their county to research and generate the value of untaxed church property.

My wife and I would be overjoyed to use our website business to generate and maintain a website that would compile and report on each state by state, county by county result.

This is the way the Creationists have taken over local school boards, city by city, village by village and town by town to spread their ignorance on our children.

If anyone is interested in this let me know.

Zwyziec

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Response to zwyziec (Reply #69)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 07:17 PM

114. Great post

I hope you get some traction with that.

Out where I live, in a redwood area that many use for vacations, there are a number of large resorts (my word) that have massive infrastructure on them. When I was a kid I went to one of them for our school week-long field trip. Now, the one I went to as a child and pretty much all of the others are owned by large, out-of-the-area churches. I'm assuming they pay no property taxes on them, and our local governments are absolutely starved for revenue.

Also, I recently went to a family wedding in Texas, a church wedding. I'd never seen such a church (I don't go to church, went as a kid but those churches were tiny fundy bare-bones operations). They had incredible facilities, including a full-size, fully outfitted basketball arena, unbelievable. The cost of this must have been enormous. Anyway, they are able to attract members and recruit people to their beliefs using access to those amazing facilities as incentive. There's something very wrong about that, especially since I'm assuming that none of this was ever taxed. It's a heavily right-wing operation that complains about not being able to explicitly advocate for political candidates from their church, they think that's unfair. I think they should be taxed like everything else is taxed, and they can do whatever they want politically.

Anyway, I applaud your efforts to at least get some real valuation on these properties, good luck with that, and let us know if you get your website happening.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:55 PM

70. taxes

 

i've been wanting the church to pay taxes for years, they are just another crooked corporation.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:56 PM

71. Long overdue.

"Tax the churches. Tax the businesses owned by the churches." - Frank Zappa

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:58 PM

72. As long as the Church is tax exempt

the separation of Church and State is a fairy tale, although they do build nice structures that add to the general ambiance.

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Response to The Wizard (Reply #72)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:12 PM

78. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion".

Courts have settled that exempting nonprofits from taxation does not violate this clause.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #78)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:16 PM

160. nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The latter clause would probably make it unconstitutional to tax churches but not secular non-profits.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #160)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:47 PM

162. Definitely nt

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:59 PM

73. Long, long past time!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:04 PM

75. Tax Information for Churches and Religious Organizations (IRS)

Some background info on the tax code in re: Churches and Religious Organizations Most internal links are to pdf files.~ pinto


http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Churches-&-Religious-Organizations

Tax Information for Churches and Religious Organizations

Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations
A quick reference guide of federal tax law and procedures for churches and religious organizations, to help them comply with tax rules.

Exemption Requirements - Section 501(c)(3) Organizations
A brief description of the requirements for exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).

http://www.irs.gov/file_source/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf (32 page pdf, good overview)

Unrelated Business Income Tax
Unrelated business income tax requirements for tax-exempt organizations.

Filing Requirements
A brief description of annual filing requirements for tax-exempt churches and religious organizations.

The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations
Political Campaign Activity by section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations

Special Rules Limiting IRS Authority to Audit a Church
Overview of rules on tax inquiries and examinations of churches.

Tax Information for Charitable Organizations
Tax information for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, and other organizations exempt under Internal Revenue Code ("IRC") section 501(c)(3).

Publication 4573, Group Exemptions
A publication describing, in question and answer format, the federal tax rules that apply to group rulings of exemption under Internal Revenue Code section 501.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 02-Nov-2012

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:06 PM

76. Long overdue! n/t

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:10 PM

77. Yes Please. Jesus wants to pay his quarterlies now! nt

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:14 PM

79. No. And this is a little silly.

The notion that we could all pay 3% if only the churches were taxed is not true. Most churches would show a taxable loss and therefore continue to pay no tax at all.

See, in addition to income, churches also have expenses. The maintenance and utilities on that cathedral in the photo? Deductible. Depreciation of the cathedral? There's a deduction for that too! Pastor and staff salaries? Deductible. Travel and appearance expenses for "evangelists"? Deductible.

Some clever CPA or tax attorney might even succeed in deducting that double-breasted suit and Rolex as a "costume" expense.

It would be an easy matter for most churches to avoid taxation, even if they were reclassified as taxable entities. Ironically, the only churches who might actually pay taxes would be the ones who were actually trying to do the right thing. (i.e. helping people without getting a receipt or canceled check)

This is the kind of delusional thinking that conservatives do all the time. We only do it on rare occasions.

BUT THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING:

Churches that actively involve themselves in politics should lose their tax-exempt status. And by that, I don't mean they would be subject to tax themselves, only that their donors WOULD NOT get a charitable deduction for their contributions. If you really want to get at a church, this is the way. Without the ability to accept deductible contributions, the money dries up and moves somewhere else pretty fast.

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Response to dawg (Reply #79)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:48 PM

164. Most of the contributed money isn't even declared on taxes.

Very few people are able to write huge checks to their church. Most people still file the short form on income taxes and take the standard deduction. Even if they tithe (give 10% to the church) it still has to be a considerable amount before it can be deducted. Religious people consider the tithe to be a religious duty and will continue to contribute regardless of the tax treatment. You greatly underestimate how deeply people are committed to their churches.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:16 PM

80. Yes, count me in!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:19 PM

82. Fitting that the image is of the Mormon Tabernacle.

The LDS Church owns a fair chunk of Utah: the leading department store, the leading newspaper, the NBC affiliate TV station, and so on. They also have substantial holdings in Hawai'i: pretty much the entire towns of Laie and Kahuku on O'ahu.

Just taxing commercial church property would get it done.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:19 PM

83. I think it's time to enforce *existing* tax law.

There are churches across the nation which are *blatantly* flouting their requirements not to engage in political campaigning and partisanship to maintain their tax exempt status. Just make the IRS enforce the law as it already stands, those churches should have already forfeited their exempt status.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/21/us-usa-tax-churches-irs-idUSBRE85K1EP20120621

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:23 PM

84. Not everything.

However, where they make profits sure.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:24 PM

85. Fuck ya! n/t

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:25 PM

86. Absolutely not, and a perfectly ridiculous idea:

It is an article of faith among many anti-theists that all churches, synagogues, and mosques are of the mega-variety. That is patently wrong. To put average congregation size in perspective, see:

http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html#sizecong

For the vast majority of religious facilities, the sole taxable asset is the property and building. Cash for clerical salaries and operational expenses comes from congregational donations, and to add property taxes into those expenses would drive an enormous number of small churches, synagogues, and mosques out of existence. Ironically enough, you would then have as the only survivors the very mega-churches that so many find offensive.

Furthermore, those surviving mega-churches of the fundamentalist christian variety would then be perfectly free to become unobstructed political arms of the Republican party. After all, the only impediment (granted, an abused impediment, but still an impediment) to employing church assets for political gain is the current tax status of those assets.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:28 PM

88. Deinfintely. And there's an app for that.

OK, so it's a website, not an app: http://taxthechurches.org/

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:32 PM

90. Pat Robertson's-----DEFINITELY!!

Prime Virginia land with no taxes!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:14 PM

102. No, But Yes

If they stay CHURCHES, keep their nose completely and unambiguously out of politics and the business of enorsement and support, then no.

If they utter one peep about social issues germane to imminent political events, then yes.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:14 PM

103. Yes.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:21 PM

107. Any church that tries to insert its dogma into civil law

needs to be taxed the same as any other political organization.

I'm perfectly happy with leaving main church property untaxed as long as they all realize where the line is.

When they start to bully people who don't share their dogma, it's time for them to pay for the privilege.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:28 PM

108. Yes, I think churches should pay taxes. nt

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:34 PM

109. Yes,but what about only the ones who are political?

Give them a three strikes opportunity to lose tax exempt status.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:40 PM

110. That's just the beginning of what I think it's time for. (nt)

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:05 PM

116. Yes

But they should get deductions for any charitable work they do.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:09 PM

117. Time to start a movement.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:32 PM

118. HELLS YEAH!

Waaay past time.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:34 PM

119. Amen

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:12 PM

121. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:47 PM

122. It's way

 

past due....unless, of course, the progressives have a few million churches that preach SHARE.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:37 AM

124. Long past time to tax them

U.S. should have been doing this long ago.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:40 AM

125. Definitely! It could really change the South.nt

Having lived in the South, North East, South West and the North West, I can
truthfully say, that this could really help the South.
Mega churches would disappear and the churches that are
political tools as opposed to houses of worship would dry up as well.
These are just used as tax dodges and work around for campaign laws.
In Pensacola FL, we literally had a church on every block of the city, it
was famous for having more churches within the city lines than any where
in the country. Thats not worship, that's a cottage industry.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:44 AM

126. Absolutely! nt

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:44 AM

127. HELL yes!!!

 

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:49 AM

128. Separate church and state by not giving churches exceptional treatment under the law!

Giuving churches a tax break is unconstitutional because it promotes religion, aiding in its establishment.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:13 AM

129. R#110 & K for, YESssss!1 n/t

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:51 AM

133. absolutely

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 11:10 AM

135. I know alot of priests who drive Beamers and they run a racket

Their " foreign aid" costs are money makers, they always take a big portion of each donation, as overhead costs, lease their rooms for meetings and take tithes. They profit highly from the pulpit and are very often named in wills. Any church that owns land and /or buildings need to be taxed. I suspect any church that works outside the country when there is such a large need here for assistance to poor and homeless. They do not welcome the poor. Political organizations pay them to preach a political choice or they are self pontificating against women having any choice.

The opulence of the Vatican makes me nauseous. They are on the side of the rich who might donate huge sums to them.

As far as non-profits, that is an oxy-moron more often than not. The administrators take home oodles.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 11:15 AM

136. Yes. Mega churches are often media and publishing empires.

And a lot of churches have gone into the business of politics.

But if a small church is truly more of a religious institution than a commercial enterprise, I'm not in favor of taxing it. I'm guessing that 10 percent of churches at most shouldn't be taxed.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:08 PM

137. Long past time.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:18 PM

142. If they want to play then they should pay.....

most are nothing more that corporate entities themselves, hiding behind the cloak of serving God.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:20 PM

143. Yes, wholeheartedly

I understand that there was fear that taxing churches could lead to religious suppression, but frankly, religion has suppressed the rest of us for so long, that I think it is time for them to pay their fair share if they want to keep indoctrinating the public.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:23 PM

146. I think they should receive a tax exemption only to the extent they are doing charitable work

The idea behind giving churches a blanket exemption in the first place is they were seen as a benefit to the community. In some cases where the church is spending a lot of time and resources providing services to the poor, I think they should receive a tax exemption for that portion of their business. Kenneth Copeland gets an exemption for his fleet of jets and his effectively private airport which is ridiculous.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:30 PM

148. FREE RIDE

Suggested reading-Free Ride, The Tax Exempt Economy by Gilbert M. Gaul and Neill A. Borowski, available used at Amazon.com, for less than $2.00.

Several decades ago I researched the tax exempt properties in San Francisco. The Catholic church owned over 1800 single family homes, all were tax exempt! Limit the exemption to the religious building, no exemption for other buildings, businesses or land holdings.

I feel very strongly about this issue when I was 19 I told my pastor, "I don't come to church to be told how to vote."

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:57 PM

153. Churches are like businesses in a sense

They provide you with a service -- religion -- and expect a form of payment -- donations. You could argue that not everyone donates, but their is pressure from the church leaders and from one's fellow churchgoers to do so -- pressure to donate is more prominent in some faiths than others. There is no reason that they be able to keep that money tax free. You could argue that they should get a lower rate than others, and I wouldn't disagree with you on this, but keeping everything tax free is not fair. Churches don't spend everything they get on aiding the poor and needy and should thus not be tax exempt. They have to pay church leaders and for the construction and maintenance of their buildings. Maybe give them a deduction on what they actually spend on the poor and needy, and tax them on all the money they didn't spend on the poor and needy.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:37 PM

155. Yes. Absolutely. Next question?

 

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:59 PM

156. Tithing to churches should not be tax exempt.

Churches should also not be tax exempt. Neither should their employees be exempt from employee taxes. And churches would have to provide their share of the payroll tax.

Maybe the tax structure should be as a business. Just as a business the tax would only be on the net income. And of course they should pay a property tax.

If a congregational member wants to make a contribution that is tax exempt it needs to be to an IRS approved charity which is not controlled directly by the church.

This would likely reduce the need for churches to receive tithing at the 10% rate since the excess would be taxed.

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #156)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:03 PM

157. I really really agree

Just tax their net income. Whatever they spend on the poor and needy can be 100% tax deductible for the church, while the rest of their money would be taxed. Remember this, the money which they received in the form of a donation has already avoided being taxed because the donor deducted the donation from their taxes. This is not fair or just. There is no reason they should avoid paying taxes like everyone else.

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