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There has been a lot of recent discussion of a case subjecting ministers' housing allowances to tax. Those discussions here and there evidence some of the misunderstandings that come up whenever taxation of churches and charities are discussed. I intend to present some of the key sections of the Internal Revenue Code for people to read and refer to concerning these matters. I think that their contents will come as a surprise to many.

 The specific section declared unconstitutional in this most recent case is section 107(2), below, with the relevant parts in bold:

26 USC § 107 - Rental value of parsonages


In the case of a minister of the gospel, gross income does not include—
(1) the rental value of a home furnished to him as part of his compensation; or
(2) the rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation, to the extent used by him to rent or provide a home and to the extent such allowance does not exceed the fair rental value of the home, including furnishings and appurtenances such as a garage, plus the cost of utilities.
Pretty straight forward ministers are tax exempt as to part of their compensation. This special treatment for "men of the cloth" was held to violate the establishment clause.

This must be taken in the context of the fundamental rule of income tax, everything is taxable and nothing is deductible unless Congress provides otherwise by legislative grace. For example, gross income includes everything.

26 USC § 61 - Gross income defined

(a) General definition
Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived, including (but not limited to) the following items:
(1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;
So, let's skip the tangle of bureaucratic red tape and look at two other provisions that color our thinking in this area.

Discussions of such matters often involve various ideas, concepts and opinions derived from some level of understanding (or misunderstanding) of the subject matter of the remaining two sections dealing with churches and charities.

People get to deduct "charitable donations" from their income in computing their taxable income under Section 170.

26 USC § 170 - Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts


 
(a) Allowance of deduction
(1) General rule
There shall be allowed as a deduction any charitable contribution (as defined in subsection (c)) payment of which is made within the taxable year. A charitable contribution shall be allowable as a deduction only if verified under regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
             ...
(c) Charitable contribution defined
For purposes of this section, the term “charitable contribution” means a contribution or gift to or for the use of—
(1) A State, a possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing, or the United States or the District of Columbia, but only if the contribution or gift is made for exclusively public purposes.
(2) A corporation, trust, or community chest, fund, or foundation—
(A) created or organized in the United States or in any possession thereof, or under the law of the United States, any State, the District of Columbia, or any possession of the United States;
(B) organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals;
(C) no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; and
(D) which is not disqualified for tax exemption under section 501 (c)(3) by reason of attempting to influence legislation, and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
Note that "religious purposes" is separate and distinct from "charitable purposes". They get special treatment simply because they are churches, regardless of whether or not they ever perform a charitable act of any kind.

Finally, the one I find most often misspoken about, the exemption from tax provided to certain entities by section 501, specifically 501(c)(3). It should be noted, for the record that there are a boatload of subsequent exemption sections, (c)(4), (c)(5), and on, and on, and on.

26 USC § 501 - Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.


(a) Exemption from taxation
An organization described in subsection (c) or (d) or section 401 (a) shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle unless such exemption is denied under section 502 or 503.
(b) Tax on unrelated business income and certain other activities
An organization exempt from taxation under subsection (a) shall be subject to tax to the extent provided in parts II, III, and VI of this subchapter, but (notwithstanding parts II, III, and VI of this subchapter) shall be considered an organization exempt from income taxes for the purpose of any law which refers to organizations exempt from income taxes.
(c) List of exempt organizations
The following organizations are referred to in subsection (a):
(1) Any corporation organized under Act of Congress which is an instrumentality of the United States but only if such corporation—
(A) is exempt from Federal income taxes—
(i) under such Act as amended and supplemented before July 18, 1984, or
(ii) under this title without regard to any provision of law which is not contained in this title and which is not contained in a revenue Act, or
(B) is described in subsection (l).
(2) Corporations organized for the exclusive purpose of holding title to property, collecting income therefrom, and turning over the entire amount thereof, less expenses, to an organization which itself is exempt under this section. Rules similar to the rules of subparagraph (G) of paragraph (25) shall apply for purposes of this paragraph.
(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
Seem familiar? Once again, religious organizations are separate from charitable ones. They are exempt simply because they are religious. As an aside, if you dig you'll find that being a "Church" is enough to get you into the "religious purposes" bag, but that there are a lot of hoops to jump through in order to fall into the "Charitable purposes" bag. Next -See anything in there about being not-for-profit? No, these organizations can be enormously profitable, by normal accounting standards, and a great many are.

Here's where the not-for-profit thing comes from. Not-for-profit entities pay no tax (there is nothing to tax) but file returns as non-profits to inform uncle that they are non-profits. (They do pay tax on unrelated business income, as do the (c)(3) organizations, but that is a whole other puddle of muck.) So what is it about (c)(3) organizations as opposed to, say (c)(4) or (c)(6) organizations that has everyone tossing that designation around like crazy? Contributions to a (c)(3) organization are deductible under section 170, while contributions to (c)(4) through (c)(whatever) are not. Hence, all the (c)(4), et seq. types try to finagle their way into (c)(3) in order to get their members a deduction. All the (c)(3) organizations tout that fact in order to entice people to contribute to them in order to obtain an individual income tax deduction. That is really all that (c)(3) status is about. That, and the decision by Congress to single out (c)(3) organizations for special treatment

Originally posted to enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  I won't be arount to comment, etc. too much (15+ / 0-)

    but will pop in as time allows. This is mostly just for reference anyway, because "why" Congress did this or that is not relevant nor discernable (they do lie, you know), and "fair" is where you get corn dogs.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 10:53:53 AM PST

  •  Now we need to get them to file Form 990 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, Eyesbright

    All other Non-profit charitable organizations are required - why should churches be exempt?

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 12:13:07 PM PST

    •  churches are not exempt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland

      we file form 990

      we are non-profits

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 06:32:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The code says churches are exempt, and the (0+ / 0-)

        last I looked, they need not file form 990. They are called "non-profits" but can and very often do make plenty of economic and/or accounting profits.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 09:43:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you imagine with your "very often do" wording (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JamesGG

          that the high rolling swindlers on TV represent the majority of churches

          9,999 churches out of 10,000 are genuine non-profits.  maybe even a larger percentage than that.

          i assure you my church files 990s every single year

          we barely break even.  some years we run a deficit.

          it's like comparing the total number of working actors to the famous people you see in movies and saying "all actors are overpaid millionaires"

          actors in smaller markets make about $20 an hour.  a decent wage, but not millionaire territory, especially since so few of them work full time.

          or comparing the total number of working musicians to famous artists who have hit records and win awards and have sidelines like perfumes and clothes and headphones, and then saying "musicians can and very often do make plenty of accounting profits"

          plenty of musicians lose money playing music... otherwise there would be no need for them to have day jobs.

          you keep generalizing from the multimedia hucksters and imagining all churches are like that.  no wonder you despise us all.  if you knew the people i know, i think you might even admire the work they do for the progressive causes you respect

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 11:21:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, but I am not making the assumptions (0+ / 0-)

            that you attribute to me. If your church uis ot oerating out of a rented basement, or roll-up or other facility, it likelyt has a positive equity interest in some physical plant, chirch, pews, hymnals, all that stuff. That gives it a positive net worth.  God did not create it for them, it is retained profits.

             think you are the one generalizing, from some one church to all but the mega churches, which does not appear to be the case from the statistics I have seen, though they are admittedly a few years old.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 02:09:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It seems (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, tle, vadem165
    In the case of a minister of the gospel
    that the code only refers to Christian ministers!

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 12:15:07 PM PST

  •  I have long felt (5+ / 0-)

    that the religious exemption from taxation, whether for the income they receive or for the land and services they use is unfair to the rest of us.

    All services used by the churches (roads, power infrastructure, police, fire protection, the cost of governemnt, etc) have to be paid for by someone- and if the churches don't then I have to.

    Further, the individuals "contributing" to the churches get to deduct their contribution, so everyone else must pay more taxes to produce the same net revenue.  The church is then free to use the money as it chooses.  No charitable works required, and no regulation of who gets any charity they decide to provide.  No need to provide any charity whatsoever.  and certainly no need to be non-profit.

    The true separation of church and state would not require me to provide goods and services for other people's religions.

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 12:20:18 PM PST

    •  What about DOUBLE taxation? (3+ / 0-)

      While we are at religious exemptions and clergy compensation issues, I will point out that by act of Congress clergy (ministers, priests, rabbis, cantors (in some cases), imams, lamas, gurus, ETC.) who have NOT taken a vow of poverty (a legally defined concept with actual tax implications) are not allowed to be EMPLOYED by congregations.

      Not one.

      By Law, clergy are always considered "independent contractors." It doesn't matter if you come out of seminary and day 1 get called to a congregation and RETIRE from there 45 years later and never serve another church, clergy are independent contractors.

      So what?

      Well, as independent contractors clergy are therefore REQUIRED to pay BOTH ENDS of the FICA tax (Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid). EmployEEs pay 7.65% and this is matched by 7.65% by their employER.
          But clergy are always on the hook for 7.65 + 7.65%= 15.30% FICA. This applies to salary AND to parsonage/housing allowance when this is paid as cash. The congregation is NOT ALLOWED to pay this.
            It is true in a fair number of cases that a congregation will pay a minister their salary + housing allowance PLUS 7.65% MORE to make up the difference, BUT that 7.65% now counts as INCOME and is subject to income tax (federal, state and local).
           A congregation can hire a secretary, office manager, custodians, organist, music director, religious education director, youth worker, musicians, groundskeepers, receptionists for their church and MUST pay 7.65% employER contribution to FICA.

      The clergy, nope. Can't do it.

      So....should separation of church and state also require double taxation of the leaders of religious bodies? Or is this if not actually "prohibiting" at least "inhibiting" the "free exercise of religion."?

      If we're going to be fair then ......

      Shalom.

      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 06:28:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is not true. Most ministers are common (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BPARTR

        law employees.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 09:34:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  OOPS, I erred, ignore my other reply to this. (0+ / 0-)

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 09:36:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How is that "double taxation"? (0+ / 0-)

        I too am an independent contractor, and pay both sides of Social security and Medicare.  If I did not do so, then I wouild get twice the benefit from SS and Medicare that other employees do, since I have no specific employer. Normally, the employer considers the payment of FICA, Medicare, and WC as part fo the expense of having employees ( and for the employee, it is a benefit of employment, the same as salary).

        If you are correct in your description of clergy, then their income is being taxed, and they are getting the social benefits the same as anyone else.  But, of course, they are not being taxed on housing- while other contractors would be.

        I would be OK with clergy not paying into Social Security or Medicare ( like a railroad employee for SS) if they didn't then receive the benefits when they trned 65/67.

        It sounds like you are suggesting that clergy pay half as much for their SS and Medicare as I do- another subsidy by me for clergy in religions with which I do not agree.

        As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

        by BPARTR on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 07:48:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Especially when they use the parsonage exemption (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland

      To buy 50 million in properties all over the country.
      http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...

  •  The power to tax is the power to destroy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, vadem165

    By exempting religious organization from tax, the power to destroy (by raising taxes up to 100%) any particular religion is taken away.

    As an example, if any and all income, property, et al of Muslim mosques were allowed to be taxed at 100%, they would not be able to exist. So, in order to be a "non-religious" oriented government, all religious organizations are not taxed.

    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

    by woolibaar on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 12:28:19 PM PST

  •  There is a cluster of non-profit activities: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, JamesGG
    exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals;
    but in addition to charitable activities per se, "scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals;" are also exempted from taxation, even though they are seen as distinct from charity (which is in fact true). Sheesh, if amateur sports count as non-profit for this purpose I sure as heck have no problem seeing religious groups included.



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 01:00:22 PM PST

    •  Yeah, except that the establishment clause (0+ / 0-)

      doesn't prohibit the government from promoting sports or literacy, but it does bar the government from promoting religion.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 02:20:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not exactly. The words are (4+ / 0-)

        "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . ."

        An "establishment" of religion is setting up one religion in particular for support or recognition. Accepting any and all religious activities as "non-profit", on a par with book clubs and  soccer teams, merely recognizes that religions don't set out to make a profit.

        The specific meaning sticks with me because "antidisestablishmentarianism" is such a jaw cracker of a word, and my parents were careful that we knew what it meant, not just the rolling sound of it.



        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 02:30:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10

          1) establishment of religion versus establishment of a specific religion. I say both are barred

          2) recognizes that religions don't set out to make a profit. Highly arguable.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 03:24:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  good diary (4+ / 0-)

    that makes some important points not just about tax breaks for religious institutions, but about non-profits, which can be very lucrative, but since they don't disburse dividends to shareholders, so it is not, by definition, profits.  But many engage in businesses, selling things, renting property, etc., and have significant cash flow in excess of operating expenses,  significant capital assets.  

    One exampe, the NFL.   I have dealt with other lesser known groups with millions in income (in excess of contributions) and assets, all non-profits.

    •  Yeah, you can look at the vast wealth of some (0+ / 0-)

      and it isn't rocket science to deduce that their net worth isn't what they started out with, but is, ergo, retained earnings.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 02:22:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's true of ALL non-profits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        The purpose of a non-profit isn't to make a profit, but there's absolutely nothing preventing them from having retained earnings.  In fact, very few non-profit organizations would exist for long if they didn't have retained earnings in good years, because they certainly have deficits in bad years.  And it would be impossible for any non-profit to expand if they were unable to have retained earnings.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 05:07:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, (0+ / 0-)

          but not all non-profits are charities, there is a persistent problem with the generosity with which these entities are reviewed.  And we saw what happened when the IRS actually tried to do reviews and enfore the rules.

          It is a growing boondoggle on several fronts.   And some of the ones I've seen have net worth and non-donation incomes well up in the millions.   They compete with for profit businesses with none of the tax burdens.  It is a cheat.

  •  Just be clear. Section 1 is not involved in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, susanala

    decision.

    Part one still stands and is not unusual in itself. From my comment yesterday:

    Because the validity of § 107(1) is not before the court, I must assume for the purpose of this case that Congress did not violate the establishment clause by granting a tax exemption on the rental value of a home provided to a minister as part of his compensation. However, by defendants’ own assertion, the purpose of § 107(1) was to eliminate discrimination between secular and religious employees by giving ministers a similar exemption to the one now codified in 26 U.S.C. § 119 for housing provided to an employee for the convenience of the employer. Assuming this is correct, it does little to help justify the later enactment of § 107(2), which expanded the exemption to include not just the value of any housing provided but also the portion of the minister’s salary designated for housing expenses.
    So, what is being decided here is the fairly modern practice of including in salary the means to buy housing on the open market with all the equity and tax deduction opportunities there. It does not have an effect on that little church that built a house in a "corner of a field" or adjacent to a city church. It is useful to realize 26 U.S.C. § 119 allows other entities to provide tax free housing, even meals, "for the convenience of the employer."
    As a further note, 26 U.S.C. § 119 covers educational institutions as one specific example.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 02:41:43 PM PST

    •  107(1) was not before the court. If it ever is, it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland

      will be interesting because  when 26 U.S.C. § 119 allows other entities to provide tax free housing "for the convenience of the employer", there is no automatic determination that the provision of housing is, in fact, "for the convenience of the employer." There must be bona fide reasons why the employee must be on the premises 24/7 in order to perform her or his job. Dormitory supervisor is a classic case.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 03:36:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The text of 26 U.S.C. § 119 makes no mention at (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        all of "bona fide reasons why the employee must be on the premises 24/7 in order to perform her or his job" as seen below:

        There shall be excluded from gross income of an employee the value of any meals or lodging furnished to him, his spouse, or any of his dependents by or on behalf of his employer for the convenience of the employer, but only if—

        (1) in the case of meals, the meals are furnished on the business premises of the employer, or

        (2) in the case of lodging, the employee is required to accept such lodging on the business premises of his employer as a condition of his employment.

        The governing condition is requiring such lodging as a condition of employment. That is quite different from some requirement to be on site 24/7. That professor living in university owned housing is qualified by the university making living there a condition of employment, not the professor's hours or availability to students.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 04:40:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Section 119 doesn't, but the case law, (0+ / 0-)

          regulations and rulungs pursuant to section 119 do. I used 24/7 for shorthand, btw, for the need to reside on the premises. There is a lot of case law in this area, trying to separate such requirements for legitimate business purposes from disguised compensation really done strictly for the benefit of the employee.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 04:51:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, if your "24/7" was shorthand for an actual (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            "convenience" to the employer. For example, offshore rig workers worked shifts and the reason accepted in a case was the convenience of the employer in not having to fly them ashore after each shift. Another was apparently "convenience" as much about prestige and appearance and had nothing to do with hours worked or any need to be at the place.

            The Regulations further provide that the first test is met where the employee is "required to accept the lodging in order to enable him properly to perform the duties of his employment." Id.

            It is clear that the first requirement of the statute has been met because the plaintiff was explicitly required to accept the residence provided by Sekiyu as a condition of his employment as president of the company. Sekiyu's goal was twofold: first, it wanted to insure that its president resided in housing of sufficiently dignified surroundings to promote his effectiveness within the Japanese business community. Secondly, Sekiyu wished to provide its president with facilities which were sufficient for the conduct of certain necessary business activities at home. Since at least 1954 Sekiyu had required that its chief executive officer reside in the residence provided to plaintiff, as a condition to appointment as president.

            With respect to this first test of Section 119, then, this case is as compelling as United States Junior Chamber of Commerce v. United States, 334 F.2d 660, 167 Ct.Cl. 392 (1964). In that case, the court found that it was not necessary for the taxpayer-president to reside in the Chamber's "White House" during his term of office so long as he lived in the Tulsa area. But, as a practical matter, for the convenience of his employer and as a condition of his tenure, the president was required to live there. Therefore, it was held that the "condition of employment" test was met. The court noted that the "condition of employment" test is met if

            due to the nature of the employer's business, a certain type of residence for the employee is required and that it would not be reasonable to suppose that the employee would normally have available such lodging for the use of his employer. 334 F.2d at 664, 167 Ct.Cl. at 399.
            By the way, one additional reason clergy of recent decades has not wanted the free housing, particularly that located next to a church as was once very common, is that they did get hit at all hours. One, a relative, often had people drop by requesting aid. Some was real need, but he was sure some was pure scam. People "traveling" would ring his door bell late in the evening asking for money. Apparently that was quite common back in the days up through the early 1970s. He was all in favor of a residence not next to the church and obviously associated with the place.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 07:53:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, the whole statute still stands (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      This was a district court decision that has no binding effect in other cases, although it would presumably be followed by that district judge in other cases, and possibly (but by no means definitely), by other judges in the same district.

      But as we have noted repeatedly, a district court decision does not have stare decisis effect; it is not a precedent.  It may be a wise, well-reasoned decision that persuades by the quality of its reasoning, but in that respect it is no different from a persuasive article or treatise. The fact of such a decision is not a reason for following it. This conclusion is based not on a disrespect for district judges, but on the sheer unmanageability of a system in which the authority to lay down legal rules is dispersed across a multitude of independent courts.
      Midlock v. Apple Vacations West, Inc., 406 F.3d 453, 458 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal citations omitted).

      Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

      by leevank on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 05:19:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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