Skip to main content

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

Comment Preferences

  •  Sure, and thanks for that. (12+ / 0-)

    I guess I just can't get myself to be that happy about the victory over the parish-estates when all the ministers' families I've known have been quite middle-class.

    I think if we want to declare victory over an enemy here, better to go after the Religious Right fuckers that really blur the line between church and state; to me that's worse than merely being decadent tax dodgers. This is a much more unambiguous triumph when seen through that lens.

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 04:35:17 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  FTR, the pastor I mention below just scrapes by. (5+ / 0-)

      the family is probably the bottom rung of middle class, if that.

      still, fairness and whatnot (horizontal tax equity, we say in tax policy jargon)

    •  How is paying taxes (38+ / 0-)

      going to hurt them compared to the rest of us who pay the if we have homes? Teachers don't get exemptions from taxes on their homes and they get paid poorly.

      I'd like to see no tax exemption for churches at all, minus the actual charity orgs...and they should get tax breaks if they discriminate.

    •  What? All the welders I've know have been (20+ / 0-)

      quite middle class, or, regrettably, often less. So should they get special treatment. Cabbies, baggage handlers, ditch diggers, agricultural workers too aren't wealthy and proud, and they actually produce goods and services, so what is your point?

      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 Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:34:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not saying they should get special treatment. (3+ / 0-)

        I'm just saying they're going to be affected by this. Which is why I have a hard time celebrating it.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 07:35:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, equal treatment for special people who (10+ / 0-)

          have been receiving special treatment is, I guess, hard to celebrate. I mean, I admit to being a proponent of equality for all, but I know that is a minority view.

          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 Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 08:10:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, FFS. Really? (5+ / 0-)

            Some good people are going to get the short end of the stick here, and I'm not allowed to feel bad about that even as I acknowledge that it's an unfortunate repercussion of the correct ruling and sound policy?

            Do I not get to be on your side unless I remember to be scornful of all the same people you are and cheer no matter what befalls them?

            Again, THIS WAS THE CORRECT OUTCOME.

            Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
            Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
            Code Monkey like you!

            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:57:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Affected by having special privileges removed? (9+ / 0-)

          Yeah, it's tough being treated just like all the other common folk when you've had a special exemption for '...Well, just because'. Imagine, a minister being no more special than a cab driver. Shocking! Personally, I find it some cause for celebration as equality in action. Both can do good works. Both should be taxed.

          •  Yes, there's cause for celebration. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Word Alchemy, JesseCW

            Just please remember these aren't all televangelists and Rick Warrens being affected negatively by this. In fact, they'll barely notice.

            (Also, taxi services aren't generally nonprofits.)

            Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
            Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
            Code Monkey like you!

            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:01:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Rick Warren will barely notice. So true. (0+ / 0-)

              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 Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 09:21:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Non-profit is a horseshit smokescreen 1) (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              War on Error

              ministers and priests aren't non-profits, they are people, generally wage earners.

              2) Churches generally aren't non-profits either except for tax purposes and even there they get special treatment and special dispensation. Various churches have amassed enormous wealth. They make huge economic and/or accounting profits, simply not tax profits, allegedly because they are prophets, but that is irrational nonsense.

              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 Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 10:19:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Someone taught me in my youth (0+ / 0-)

                go get yourself a non-profit

                It's a license to make money and keep it.

                No kidding.

                I've been reading 990 tax returns for non-religious non-profits like the Walton Foundation.

                These non-profits make a ton of money from investing each year.  The Walton Foundation makes interest loaning money out to build Charter School buildings, for example.

                The IRS tax code isn't broken, it's working perfectly well for the 1%

                It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                by War on Error on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 12:31:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  welders, cabbies, baggage handlers, ditch diggers (0+ / 0-)

        and agricultural workers do not get special protection in the Constitution

        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 Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 09:21:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nor are they subject to special restrictions - (0+ / 0-)

          read the establishment clause closely. Religions (not churches or ministers) cannot be discriminated against, but also cannot be favored.

          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 Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 10:22:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ok (0+ / 0-)

            but the idea is that someone decided that churches should not be subject to taxation as part of keeping them separate from governmental functions

            therefore church property is not taxed, and when churches owned parsonages and rectories they were not taxed.

            my church does not have a parsonage, so you are saying that means that my housing should be taxed, even though Joe Blow whose church does have a parsonage can live there without having his housing taxed?

            and that is fair?

            i understand you dislike churches and ministers.  at this point i am talking about the difference in treatment between churches and the other professions you listed, who never had any law exempting their employers from property taxes

            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 Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 10:42:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You appear to be talking about property taxes (0+ / 0-)

              which are irrelevant and not at issue. This case subjects to Federal Income Taxes the value of a parsonage allowance paid to a minister, just like the remuneration paid to the lay peasantry is subject to income taxes. Because only such allowances were at issue, the case does nto address the value of on site parsonages.

              A carpenter, plumber, janitor or whatever could work for a church, with its property tax exemption, just like a minister does. Being mere hoi polloi, they would be subject to tax on any and all remuneration for so doing. Section 107 treated ministers as a specialclass of persons, above the hoi polloi who were exempted from tax on some of their earnings solely becasue they were ministers and not mere peasantry. That violates the establishment clause.

              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 Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 07:48:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  the reason the income taxes are exempt (0+ / 0-)

                is because ministers used to live on church owned property that was exempt from taxation.

                now many do not.

                but instead of punishing the ministerial employee for the fact that the church does not own a home for him/her to live in, the IRS still allows clergy rent to be tax free

                it's not just because they work for the church, or are some special higher class of person.

                i am not confused about property taxes and income taxes.  it was standard for centuries for clergy to live tax free on church owned property.  now the income they get for their housing is tax exempt to make up for the fact that so few churches have rectories or parsonages these days.

                it was much rarer for the sexton/carpenter/plumber/janitor to live on church property.  that's why their housing income is not exempt from taxes now.

                it has nothing to do with hoi polloi, and in fact the lion's share of ministers I know qualify as hoi polloi under most definitions of that term

                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 Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 08:40:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wrong. (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 09:04:45 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  how is it wrong, exactly? (0+ / 0-)

                    i am certain of my facts.  are you disagreeing with my opinion (about the hoi polloi)?

                    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 09:37:03 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Property taxes are imposed or not (some states (0+ / 0-)

                      lack them) by states and their political subdivisions. Whether any state has such a tax, whether it provides any exemptions, and whether those exemptions do or do not include some or all of the property owned by churches has nothing to do with the FEDERAL income taxation of the fair rental value of parsonages or the amount of parsonage allowances.

                      Congress, in its infinite wisdom, decided to exclude from the income of "ministers" both the value of parsonages used rent free and the amount of parsonage allowances. Section 107 granted both exemptions.

                      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.

                      I finally broke down, after all these years, and posted the actual text of 107, 170 and 501(c)(3), which you may refer to opr not as you see fit, here

                      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 11:31:27 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  it seems we agree with each other (0+ / 0-)

                        i am aware of everything you posted.

                        i am talking about the historical reason for parsonage allowances.

                        you feel the exemption is unfair and unnecessary, but otherwise we are talking about the same thing

                        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 06:31:03 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  thanks for the linked diary. i did read it. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        enhydra lutris

                        especially where you say that you do not care about the reason for the exemption, which is what I was talking about

                        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 06:34:00 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The reason cannot ever be known. You read the (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          TrueBlueMajority

                          prefacatory portion of a bill or act and it says all wonder ful groovy stuff. You read the committee reports and it says different groovy stuff. You read the floor debate and it is entirely different. Meanwhile, if you get to the bottom there was horse trading and a ton of lobbying.  There is no way to ever know why Congress did anything.

                          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 09:06:50 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, you'll notice that the excess/opulence... (0+ / 0-)

      ...is usually found in either nondenominational churches (which are wholly independent) or churches affiliated with denominations/traditions in which there is no hierarchy and few means of denominational control over individual churches (e.g. Baptist, Pentecostal, et al.).  In some cases, individual evangelists/preachers have simply founded their own denominations (e.g. Aimee Semple McPherson and the Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God).

      It's also common to see prominent pastors/evangelists move beyond the theology of the denomination in which they were raised or ordained.  For instance, Billy Graham was ordained as a Southern Baptist, but wound up espousing inclusivism (i.e. paths to God other than that of Jesus Christ), which is anathema to orthodox Baptists; in the same vein, Pat Robertson's charismatic practices are well outside his original Southern Baptist ordination.

      Many of the "big-time televangelists" are completely nondenominational, including Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, and John Hagee.

      You can't really throw all churches/pastors into one bucket; the folks you see on television aren't really all that close (in terms of theology, finances or governance) to your local congregations.  

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 09:54:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If not overturned in the appeal process (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      I think you could see Congress pass legislation allowing for the first, maybe $10,000 a year of housing allowance being not taxable. My own personal view is that the case will be overturned.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 12:42:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (159)
  • Community (65)
  • Baltimore (41)
  • Civil Rights (39)
  • Bernie Sanders (33)
  • Culture (32)
  • Elections (30)
  • Economy (30)
  • Law (26)
  • Texas (24)
  • Labor (22)
  • Environment (21)
  • 2016 (21)
  • Rescued (21)
  • Education (21)
  • Freddie Gray (20)
  • Media (19)
  • Racism (18)
  • Hillary Clinton (18)
  • Health Care (17)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site