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

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  •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)
    Most organized religion today is nothing more than a money machine for the pastors and parent organizations.
    I'm guessing you haven't been looking at a lot of churches' budgets recently, because as someone who has spent quite a bit of time looking at them, I can tell you that most pastors aren't exactly rolling in the dough—and except in a few cases (like perhaps the Roman Church) the "parent organizations" aren't seeing a lot of the average religious organization's revenues either.
    I'm guessing it would be rare to find a church where even 5% of the intake goes to charitable causes.
    Please define "charitable causes" here, and then please indicate to me where our tax code indicates that all nonprofit organizations must be devoted to "charitable causes."

    "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 11:24:43 AM PST

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    •  Code Sec 501 (c)(3) (0+ / 0-)

      Deals with not for profit organizations that are eligible for tax deduction for donations made to the charity.  Churches are automatically included in this section.  Other organizations must apply for exempt status and explain their reason for exemption and provide financial statements.  Not for profit organizations must file an informational tax return each year (Form 990) that is open for public inspection.  Churches file nothing.  Repeat Churches file nothing.  No open records, nothing.

      The better I know people, the better I like my dog.

      by FTL BILLY on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:04:50 PM PST

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      •  Half right (0+ / 0-)

        Section 501c3 deals with the exemption from income tax for organizations that are charitable, educational, religious, etc.   Section 170 deals with the income tax deduction for donations made to charity.  The two sections overlap signficantly but they are not the same.

        Churches are included in religious, although not all religious organizations are churches.   Churches, specifically, are entitled to special filing exemptions from the application for exemption (Form 1023) and the annual report (Form 990) so that is true.  It is, however, a reporting exception - nothing excepts churches from the standard substantive requirements for exemption.

    • my protestant church with a budget of (0+ / 0-)

      @$600K (general Fund), 47% goes to the salary of the co-pastors and as an apportionment to support the hierarchy.  It's rare to find someone in the organizational hierarchy being paid less than $100K. After lights, power, insurance, admin staff, etc they have previously allocated $3000 to "missions" that actually provide some charitable benefit.   "Special" collections are periodically taken to support a few other charitable causes.

      The pastors are paid /compensated at a rate over 4X the median income for a family of four in my state.  

      To me, "charity" would be helping feed the homeless,  supporting an orphanage...helping unfortunates with a little financial aid if appropriate, providing a scholarship, etc.

      Franklin Graham is paid about 600-800K a year for fleecing people with his particular brand of BS.    His org doesn't pay tax.  I could go on and on.

      Even if at a reduced rate, churches should help pay for the community infrastructure they use...water, sewer,..police,, property taxes.

      And you're correct, I don't look at a lot of church budgets.  It's not my job.  And I know of some churches that certainly can't and don't pay big money.  But, on balance, full time pastors earn significant money AND get a lot of non taxable benefits.  

      The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

      by Persiflage on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:48:08 PM PST

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