Taxing Churches

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by plain_n_simple, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. plain_n_simple

    plain_n_simple
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    What would be the good and bad of taxing churches? I think it would almost eliminate alot of small groups. What kind of battle would it be?
     
  2. JonC

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    The good of doing away with the tax exempt status would be eliminating a fear that may lead to refrain from preaching the truth (fear of losing that status). The bad would be a financial burden that may have to be absorbed…perhaps more so in larger churches with stretched budgets. I wonder if giving would also decline (if this also would prevent tax deductions for members).

    For the government, the good is money generated. The bad is perhaps making up for churches that end up cutting programs that benefit the community.

    I have wondered if it would eliminate a lot of small groups...or produce more. If taxed, perhaps congregations with lower budget needs would thrive.

    Anyway...I'm no expert.....I’m sure others have more to offer.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    There is no fear of preaching the truth and the churches tax exempt status cannot be taken away from the church under any circumstances.
     
  4. plain_n_simple

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    What if, and Im only guessing, what if several big churches gave up the status to have the political voice? Is that possible?
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    Churches big or small do not need to give up the status because it in no way effects how we are too and can preach.
     
  6. plain_n_simple

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    Do you think it would be a stronger, louder statement from the pulpit if you could directly endorse, and comment on various politicians? It seems like it would but I'm not savvy.
     
  7. padredurand

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    That would be an abuse of the pulpit.
     
  8. plain_n_simple

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    I agree, but it seems that is the bigger agenda for many churches. They may not see it as abuse by stopping gay marriage and reversing abortion by changing laws. Lots of talk on the left about taxing churches too.
     
  9. preacher4truth

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    Someone said this cannot be taken away (non-profit) from a church? And it cannot be taken away under any circumstances? Such dogmatism and so dogmatically incorrect. :laugh:

    Seems the self proclaimed 'omniscient one' is unaware that this has in fact happened in the USA and will more than likely be happening again. Another fact is that churches do fear preaching the truth concerning moral and political issues which is why The Church at Pierce Creek lost their status, now this church is called The Landmark Church.
     
  10. Crabtownboy

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    When a preacher mixes politics with the gospel message he/she does not clean up politics, but they do dirty the gospel message.
     
  11. ktn4eg

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    What constitutes "politics" is in the eye of the beholder.

    John the Baptist's condemnation of Herod in Mark 6:18 could be interpreted as a political statement in that John publicly blasted King Herod---and ultimately was murdered for doing so.

    This is not to say that a pastor's message ought to consist solely of endorsing a political candidate or some political organization, but no where do I read in God's Word where a pastor should not condemn policies that may, by some folks, be interpreted as being political statements (e.g., abortion, gay lifestyles, etc.).
     
  12. ShagNappy

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    Except that he called him out for adultery, not his politics and how he ruled.
     
  13. Crabtownboy

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    Endorsing a candidate, regardless whether liberal or conservative, is political. A preacher does not have to tell his preference from the pulpit. There is plenty of time for private conversations and private e-mail and letters and not involve the church.

    Don't believe the IRS was around in that time. We are talking of current law/constitution not under Roman law.


    Preach the gospel. Talk politics outside the pulpit.
     
  14. JamesL

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    Yowza.

    Aren't you one of those who's always crying about how the current political regime is constantly ignoring the constitution?

    Why should it be any different when it comes to these financial blessings you wish to keep?

    Under any circumstances. That's rich. You need to get your head out of the sand
     
    #14 JamesL, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2014
  15. DHK

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    Avoiding the question with a statement that is not necessarily true. How do you know that? You state this so absolutely as if it could never happen, when in fact it has.

    I am quite familiar with a church that has never registered with the government, has never had a tax exempt status, and therefore when one joins they join with the understanding that they will not be given receipts at the end of the year valid for tax exempt purposes. The principle is a separation of church and state.

    "True giving does not care whether it is tax exempt or not."

    The pastor of said church explained that most pastors never read through the red tape, don't take time to read the fine print when filling out the forms in order to receive their tax exempt #. What powers are you potentially ceding to the government just for the acquisition of that #? Perhaps that is something worth looking into. Read the fine print.
     
  16. JamesL

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    DHK...

    Excellent post. I was railed on by the Rev once for suggesting that these IRS blessings toward the church come with strings, whether explicit or implicit.

    I wish the church would stop looking to the government for financial "help". The American church has a socialist mindset, but refuses to call it that. The church doesn't want to be responsible for paying taxes, but fully expects that services be provided the same.

    Who's going to put out a fire at the church? Who's going to replace the street in front of the church?
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Churches do not need to fill out forms to be tax exempt. Churches have a special exemption under the IRS code and do not need to be 501c3 to be tax exempt. Once a church is establsihed it is automatically tax exempt and it cannot be revoked.

    No church has ever lost its tax exempt status.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    “No church has ever lost its tax exempt status.” Matthew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel.


    During this current election cycle it is important to consider what we can and cannot do with regards to preaching and teaching on political issues and how that may effect the churches tax exempt status.


    “Recognition of Tax-Exempt Status


    Automatic Exemption for Churches


    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 recognized

    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 contributions

    generally are tax-deductible.”


    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf


    Most people assume that churches are required to apply for a non-profit 501 (c)3 tax exempt status. However, according to the tax code churches have a special status and do not need to apply for tax exempt status. For the purposes of tax exemption to do so is redundant and unnecessary. There are other benefits of being incorporated but tax exempt status is not one of them.


    I would encourage every church member and Pastor to get the publication created and distributed by Matthew Staver founder of Liberty Counsel that delivers a wealth of information that debunks some myths about what churches can and cannot do in dealing with political issues and candidates. www.libertycounsel.org


    What you will discover is that a churches tax exempt status cannot be pulled from the church on a permanent basis. Since the exemption is automatic and does not rely on a letter of recognition from the IRS the automatic exemption applies to the church everyday. If the IRS attempts to pull the status from the church today, then tomorrow is a new day and the exemption begin a new. Not one church has ever lost its tax exempt status in the history of IRS oversight.


    Many churches apply for tax exempt status because they feel it is required. There have been approximately 5 churches that the IRS has pulled this letter of recognition from. However, since the tax status is automatic and does not require this application or letter of recognition their tax exempt status remains in tact.


    In 1992 the church Pierce Creek in Binghamton NY  did lose its letter after placing a full page add in USA Today and in the Washington Times. In this add expressly endorsed Bill Clinton for President of the United States. As a result of this the IRS  approached the church in 2002 long after the election was over. The IRS wanted to know if this church would promise not to do this again. However the church wanted to poke its finger in the eye of the IRS and simply told them to go away and to leave us alone. The IRS then revoked the churches letter of tax exempt status. At this point the church filed suit, not to get back its tax exempt status (since a letter is not required for churches) but to retain its letter. This case ended up at the federal court of appeals. This court said that the IRS could take the letter from the church, but it could not take the tax exempt status. This federal court of appeals specifically said the church does not lose its tax exempt status even though it ran full page adds endorsing a political candidate in two national newspapers. The courts ruling was as follows: “Because of the churches unique tax exempt status the revocation of the letter is likely to be more symbolic than substantial.”


    The federal government at the appellate court level recognizes that the churches tax exempt status is not to be lumped in with all other non-profit organizations. Its tax exempt status is outside of all others.



    Barry Lynn with the organization Americans United For Separation of Church and State has sent out countless numbers of warning letters to churches threatening to turn you in for any perceived political activity by the church. And to date he has not been successful in getting one single church prosecuted. Not one. His organization has been and remains today a complete failure in their endeavors. So why would we listen to men and organizations like these who are acting erroneously and unsuccessfully? They are not to be listened to or feared.

    Preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ should preach boldly the message of a holy and righteous God. This requires that we speak to issues that are brought up in the product of campaigns. We should preach against the murder of unborn children, God ordained marriage between one man and one woman, we should preach against support of unbiblical religious and political positions. Let’s continue to proclaim the gospel with boldness.
     
  19. DHK

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    Is your building up to fire code?
    When it was built did it pass inspection--building code?
    Is it safe? How do you know?
    The government already has a hand in your affairs.

    Does your pastor have a license to marry and bury?
    Are these records recorded with the government and is it law that they need to be?
    More government bureaucracy and red tape for the church to wade through just for the governments demands. Why do they need to know?

    Does your church have a private school? Does the government know about it? Should they? Is it the law?

    In a house in California some Christians were meeting each Sunday for a Bible Study. There weren't many. They were meeting in a tent in the back yard. The government shut them down. It wasn't zoned for religious meetings, and yet Catholics meeting for Bingo and others for different purposes who were greater in number were completely ignored.

    What about the fiasco in Indianapolis? The pastor refused to pay taxes. His church was not only shut down, his property and land were confiscated.

    Theories are great. Reality tells a different story!
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    The facts I presented was:

    1. The current IRS code

    2. The statement from an attorney

    3. The Particular case where the issue was settled in Federal court.


    I produced no theories only facts.
     

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