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

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  •  Actually, not really (3+ / 0-)

    The history and language of Code Section 501c3 does not require the alleviation of poverty as a requirement of exempt status.  Religious activity, apart from charitable activity, is sufficient grounds for tax exempt status.   Thus, a church is not required to feed the poor or clothe the naked to be exempt, and it has never been so.  

    That is not to say that there are not significant issues with private inurement and excess benefit (read: Bentleys) as well as electioneering (read: Pulpit Sunday) with churches.  These issues arise with non-churches as well.  If I recall correctly, the last PACI report issued by the IRS indicated that the actionable cases of electioneering split down the middle between church and non-church groups.  You are right, however, that the IRS is loathe to enforce these requirements strictly (they will send firmly worded letters but will not revoke an exemption) for PR and not good tax policy readings.

    Now, the churches are pushing the fight in a way that others are not because they believe that the First Amendment entitles them to something different.  So far, they've lost on that.  And they should continue to lose on that because tax-exemption is a matter of legislative grace and not of right.  Churches have the right to say whatever they want; they don't have a right to a public subsidy for it.

    So after I typed all of this I think I responded to the wrong post.. this should be a response to BadKitties.  Sorry for being Kos-challenged


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