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View Diary: It's Time to Tax The Churches (72 comments)

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  •  Taxed on what? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, Neuroptimalian, FG
    All legal entities should be taxed irrespective of their missions, affiliations or charter language.
    Okay, taxed on what?

    Businesses are taxed on their profits—that is, revenues minus expenses—not on their revenue alone.

    So in the case of a nonprofit organization that doesn't make profits for its shareholders—since it doesn't have any—but rather returns all revenues back into the operation of the organization itself, how would you tax it?

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:18:39 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Simple, Tax Revenue minus Expenses (0+ / 0-)

      on the same basis that businesses are that don't pay dividends.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:58:53 PM PST

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    •  So many churches (0+ / 0-)

      own businesses that are tax exempt because they are sheltered under the tax exemption of the churches:

      Churches own banks, health care, commercial printing, sugar processing companies, hotels, newspapers, broadcast stations, investment companies, insurance companies, service stations, restaurants, thrift stores, office buildings, apartment and condo buildings, parking garages, commercial farms, and more,  Churches are serious financial players in America and make a great deal of profit off of activities that aren't related to improving man's relationship with their god.

      These business endeavors should be taxed as any other business is.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:07:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that for-profit operations... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG

        ...should be taxed as such—but only insofar as they're operated for profit.

        If my church ran a thrift store, for example, but charged no more than it had to in order to cover the operating expenses of the store (the employees, lighting, heat, etc.), then why should my church be taxed for that, when a nonreligious nonprofit organization running the same thrift store wouldn't be?

        And where do you draw the line at "for-profit" here? If my church has a bake sale, we're obviously taking in far more than the bake sale has cost—in that if it's like any other bake sale, all the baked goods were donated, thus enabling the church to add all the money coming in as revenue.

        Is that a "for-profit" endeavor if it's done by a church, but not by any other nonprofit organization—or are you going to tax all bake sales? Because the one thing you're not allowed to do under the Constitution is tax only church bake sales while leaving the local PTA's bake sale alone.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:17:52 PM PST

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        •  I don't, but obviously you do. (0+ / 0-)

          The First Amendment and the Constitution do not guarantee tax exemption to any endeavor.

          That's for the IRS to do, and tax codes change.

          Our state taxes bake sales. I don't have a problem with it.  Why do you?

          All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

          by Noddy on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:24:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Constitution doesn't permit... (0+ / 0-)

            ...state discrimination against religion.

            The First Amendment and the Constitution do not guarantee tax exemption to any endeavor.
            No, but they do guarantee that the state won't establish a religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof.

            If the state doesn't tax nonreligious nonprofit organizations for doing certain things, and then does tax religious nonprofit organizations for doing the exact same things but with religious content added, that's a de facto establishment of irreligion—and a strong state incentive against the free exercise of religion, as not practicing religion organizationally confers tax benefits.

            If you really think that the state should discourage or penalize the practice of religion, then go ahead and suggest that—but don't pretend that the First Amendment supports your view.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:31:57 PM PST

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            •  Taxation does not prohibit (0+ / 0-)

              "the free exercise thereof".  Religions are more than welcome to exist and say what they want and how they want.

              Taxing an organization does not discourage or penalize it for existing, does not restrict it from existing. If that were the case, there would be no organizations at all in the US.

              A tax is not a punishment, it's a reward for being an integral and supporting part of society.

              All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

              by Noddy on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:57:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Taxation can be used to penalize or reward. (0+ / 0-)
                Taxing an organization does not discourage or penalize it for existing, does not restrict it from existing. If that were the case, there would be no organizations at all in the US.
                If taxation is used in a discriminatory way, such that two organizations, both doing the same thing, are taxed differently according to the nature of their religious views, then taxation is a significant penalty for having an organization with religious views.

                If the federal government decided to tax nonreligious advocacy organizations that called for higher taxes and the expansion of Medicare and Social Security, while granting a tax exemption to nonreligious advocacy organizations that called for lower taxes and cuts to Medicare and Social Security, you would likely agree with me that the federal government's tax power was being used to promote one viewpoint and penalize another.

                Why shouldn't a similar line of reasoning hold for religious and nonreligious nonprofit organizations?

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:54:36 PM PST

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                •  If you've bothered to read my comments (0+ / 0-)

                  you'd know I have no issues with ANY organization being taxed.  

                  You seem to be the one who wants to penalize society by allowing some parts of it to shirk their share of taxes that provide the infrastructure they so enjoy using.

                  All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

                  by Noddy on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:53:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Um.. they do (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know why you think that if a church runs a hotel, it doesn't pay tax on it.  Google Unrelated Business Income Tax and see Internal Revenue Code 511 through 514

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