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Should the church be taxed?

by Cinitiator
Tags: church, taxed
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russ_watters
#55
Nov11-12, 07:44 PM
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Quote Quote by Cinitiator View Post
All the non-charitable income should be taxed though.
Business income doesn't get taxed: only profit.
Jack21222
#56
Nov11-12, 09:08 PM
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Quote Quote by Cinitiator View Post
All the non-charitable income should be taxed though. Even if you play a role as a non-profit charity but only use, say, 40%, or even 65% of that income for charitable causes then your non-charitable income should still be taxed. And all the funds dedicated to spreading religion, homophobia, etc. should be taxed equally at, say, a rate of 35%.
I have to disagree with this, because the rules would get complicated and I can imagine some grey area about exactly what spreading your religion is. Just treat all 501c3 organizations the same.
Dickfore
#57
Nov11-12, 09:10 PM
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Quote Quote by Mentalist View Post
No, I do not think churches should be taxed.
This.
SunnyBoyNY
#58
Nov11-12, 10:40 PM
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Not all non-charity related funds are spent on missionaries. I can write about the local RC church here on our block-- masses are free though most people donate a few dollars here and there. To my understanding, most money is redistributed back into society through the priest- I believe some people in need might get cash, others get free food. Russ Watters mentioned Red Cross -- while I agree with him on most points, Red Cross does not really help people on the street in thus city but church does. Winters here in upstate NY are tough.

I am not sure I would tax a local church when the priest does not have enough money to fix the roof.

On the other hand, when one looks at the opulent city of Vatican, one gets doubts about money flow.

This is a tough nut to crack, really.
Ben Niehoff
#59
Nov12-12, 03:23 AM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Business income doesn't get taxed: only profit.
This I didn't know. That changes the game a little.
Gokul43201
#60
Nov12-12, 09:13 AM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Business income doesn't get taxed: only profit.
Do you think churches should be exempt from having to file paperwork to show they have zero business profit?
Jimmy Snyder
#61
Nov12-12, 09:55 AM
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A church is a non-prophet?
russ_watters
#62
Nov12-12, 09:57 AM
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Quote Quote by Gokul43201 View Post
Do you think churches should be exempt from having to file paperwork to show they have zero business profit?
Meh, dunno. I can see the IRS wanting to reduce their paperwork and they wouldn't get much out of having such paperwork filed. Is that really a big issue though?

There is a good reason why you would treat a church differently from, say, the Girl Scouts: Churches are mostly self funded while the Girl Scouts operates much more like a business, drawing substantial income from selling products.

As I said before, people (not you specifically) are really shooting from the hip here, having no idea what they are talking about and just making stuff up as they go. I can't fathom what people are envisioning a church's finances look like, but most of this discussion is nonsensical, or at best, just inapplicable. We're discussing baseball, but talking about touchdowns and baskets and penalty kicks.

I think the problem here is people just have no idea how a corporations work and what the tax implications are.

For example:

My homeowner's association is a 501c corporation...and we don't do any charity. If there's money left over from our landscaping and snow removal at the end of the year, where do people think that money goes? Even if it got distributed to the homeowners, it would just be a rebate of fees paid. In reality, it goes into a fund for next year.

Our association has no 3rd party "owners" who could take our profits, if such profits existed.
Jack21222
#63
Nov12-12, 10:22 AM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Our association has no 3rd party "owners" who could take our profits, if such profits existed.
But churches are different, particularly so-called "mega-churches" down south. Or the church of Scientology. There are plenty of people that could pocket large amounts of profit from a church.

I still maintain it's a violation of the establishment clause to give churches special benefits over similar secular organizations.
DavidSnider
#64
Nov12-12, 10:28 AM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
There is a good reason why you would treat a church differently from, say, the Girl Scouts: Churches are mostly self funded while the Girl Scouts operates much more like a business, drawing substantial income from selling products.
We're not talking about honest-to-goodness local churches that use the funds to keep a roof up. We're talking about megachurches, like Creflo Dollar or Scientology. It's a whole different ball game.
russ_watters
#65
Nov12-12, 11:16 AM
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Who is "we?" The OP says nothing about megachurches. And just who do you guys think might be profiting? Jack, you say they are different: HOW?
DavidSnider
#66
Nov12-12, 11:58 AM
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http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2...oney-to-fl-gov
russ_watters
#67
Nov12-12, 01:20 PM
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What point should I be getting from that link?
Jack21222
#68
Nov12-12, 01:39 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Jack, you say they are different: HOW?
How is a church different from a homeowners association? You said that your homeowners association has no owners that could take a profit if such profits existed. Churches do. I thought that was very obvious.

If you want specific examples of somebody who could potentially take profits out of a church, consider Craig Groeschel. Now, I am NOT accusing him specifically of doing any such thing, but it is an example of a person who would be in a position to do something if he were unethical, unlike your homeowners association who has no such person.
russ_watters
#69
Nov12-12, 01:50 PM
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Churches have owners beyond just the members? Can you substantiate that? WHO are they? No, it most certainly is not obvious: it flies in the face of what churches are.

And I see nothing in that wiki link to support the idea that the pastor profits from the church beyond his income. Are you saying he owns it? Can you prove it?

I think you are making assumptions about things you do not know here.
Jack21222
#70
Nov12-12, 02:15 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Churches have owners beyond just the members? Can you substantiate that? No, it most certainly is not obvious: it flies in the face of what churches are.

And I see nothing in that wiki link to support the idea that the pastor profits from the church beyond his income. Are you saying he owns it? Can you prove it?

I think you are making assumptions about things you do not know here.
I'm saying he would have the ability to do so, as the founder of the church and senior pastor. He's basically in control of the church. By the way, if you had read my post, you would have seen that I was not accusing him of taking profits from the church beyond his income. I very specifically stated that he wasn't. I just said that he could siphon money off of the church if he wanted to. You know, maybe the "church" buys him a new Lamborghini for "church business" or something.

Once again, I am NOT accusing him of doing such a thing. All I am saying is that it's possible.

And because they don't have to make their finances available to the IRS like EVERY OTHER non-profit, he could easily do this and get away with it.

Here's an article from charitywatch.org which addresses this kind of thing: http://www.charitywatch.org/articles...Oversight.html

If you want a news source, here is something from USA Today: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/...st-probe_N.htm

I'm not just making up hypothetical situations here. There are pastors right now that are apparently getting away with tax-free multi-million dollar homes and Rolls Royces. And before you ask, no I cannot prove it, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT REQUIRED TO FILE THEIR FINANCES. The churches being investigated by the senate told the government to go screw themselves, basically, knowing that nothing could be done.

Anyway, I can agree that this flies in the face of what churches are SUPPOSED to be, but it does NOT fly in the face of what these churches are.
DavidSnider
#71
Nov12-12, 02:40 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
And I see nothing in that wiki link to support the idea that the pastor profits from the church beyond his income. Are you saying he owns it? Can you prove it?
That's exactly what MY link showed.
russ_watters
#72
Nov12-12, 02:55 PM
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You said:
Quote Quote by Jack
You said that your homeowner's association has no owners that could take a profit if such profits existed. Churches do.
Grammatically, the second sentence is a claim that churches do have owners beyond the members. Are you saying that you didn't intend that there are additional owners, just additional people who could take a profit? That's not what ownership is or what profit is.

Saying that "he's basically in control of it" and could therefor steal money from the church is not a fundamental difference between him and my homeowner's association: My homeowner's association has a President who has a check book and who could write himself checks.

But none of that has anything at all to do with whether churches (mega or otherwise) should pay taxes. Moreover/as such, this has nothing to do with the IRS -- it isn't the IRS's job to look for civil fraud (the pastor in this hypothetical would be stealing from the members, not the IRS). The IRS is not some private accounting firm that audit's peoples' books to look for fraud or skimming. What you are suggesting would make the IRS a government sponsored accounting firm that would -- free of charge, I assume? -- provide financial audits to companies to help them ensure their staff isn't stealing from them. Wow, would companies ever love that!! Except for the private accounting firms who currently provide that service, of course! And taxpayers who would have to fund it.

I think, also, you are under the false impression that non-profits file full-fledged tax returns that would provide the sort of information required do do such an audit. I'm pretty sure they don't -- I looked that up and IIRC, non-profits file a little form that states that they are non-profit and that's it. Filing that form to register as a non-profit is what churches are exempt from. I'll have to double-check that/get the link when I get home later, though.


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