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View Diary: Fed Court: Ministers now have to pay income tax on their "free housing" (323 comments)

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  •  I don't see the problem still (0+ / 0-)

    All the church needs to do is charge the minimum rent and then up the preacher's pay accordingly.  (I don't see how a full-time minister is "self-employed" any more than any other full-time-contract employee can be, but that's beside this point.) The minister's rent payment returns to the church as income, and his increased pay is expensed. Yeah, the payroll tax might go up a little--but so then would the benefits in retirement.  Equity in home?  Well, that's what savings are for--even if he doesn't pay rent (and gets paid less) he has to save if he wants a down payment.

    "THERE IS NO JUSTICE. THERE IS JUST US." spoken by Death in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

    by Sailorben on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 12:25:36 AM PST

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    •  OK I see where my thinking fails.. (0+ / 0-)

      After reading much of the discussion I realized I was assuming that this involved church-owned property, and of course it doesn't always these days.  So the rent money wouldn't be returning to the church.  That's a bind, and yes it's tough on little churches and low-paid ministers.  

      My big gripe about taxes isn't this kind of situation, anyway. It's the business interests and income properties that some churches own.  There's a speculation out there that the Catholic Church owns half of Chicago so the rest of the city and its people have to pay double the taxes to cover for it.  I have no idea how much the Church actually owns but it's definitely huge, makes a LOT of money that mostly goes to the Vatican, and leaves that much of the tax burden on everyone else.  Then there are all the other churches and their business interests.  Yes, they do charity; so do others who pay taxes on their business income.

      If they'd just confine tax breaks to the immediate "center of worship" and in some cases, retreats/youth camps, it wouldn't be such a problem and there wouldn't be this level of resentment.  And the little churches and their low-paid ministry wouldn't be getting hit like this.

      I think the core tax breaks are important to give a little leverage to the church/state separation matter. Not that many churches aren't violating that right and left anyway without IRS consequences, the only punishment available. :(

      "THERE IS NO JUSTICE. THERE IS JUST US." spoken by Death in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

      by Sailorben on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 12:55:57 AM PST

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