Should Churches be Taxed?

Do you believe churches should be taxed?

  • Yes

    Votes: 13 56.5%
  • No

    Votes: 8 34.8%
  • Uncertain

    Votes: 2 8.7%

  • Total voters
    23
  • #1
To my knowledge, churches are not taxed in America or Canada - correct me if I'm wrong since I couldn't find much information on the net. Do you believe churches should be taxed?

My answer is a resounding yes, and I believe that churches being exempt from taxation - while other people are taxed - is abhorrent.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
dextercioby
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Yes,they should be taxed.Every income should be taxed.

Daniel.
 
  • #3
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I don't think that churches should be taxed because they give back way too much for society (i know lots of people will disagree). They represent a part of society that is underestimated in these modern days. Religion, especially in western societies, is quasi totally neglected but the revival is eminent...

marlon
 
  • #4
dextercioby
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They are humans.Like in "homo sapiens sapiens".Since these homo sapiens sapiens had the unfortunate idea of inventing what we call STATE,everything has changed.

I propose that nobody should pay any taxes (like in Monaco),because each & everyone gives back to society.Way too much.

Daniel.
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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dextercioby said:
Yes,they should be taxed.Every income should be taxed.

Daniel.
Actually, its profits that are taxed (you are taxed on your profit, not your gross income). Since churches are non-profit, on what would you tax them?
 
  • #6
brewnog
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Same rules should apply to the church as to any other charity. As far as I know, they do.
 
  • #7
dextercioby
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What is the income of a church,meaning from what do they make money?

Daniel.
 
  • #8
brewnog
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As far as I know, the Church is the biggest landowner in the UK (if not, it's definitely in the top three). They must make a load of money out of renting out their land to sheep.

Obviously there's a bit of charity thrown in there too, for good measure. Plenty of people leave their inheritance to the Church. Weddings and funerals are also a money spinner, and local government often donates in order to maintain property and estates. Finally, the Church has some pretty large investments with similarly large dividends.
 
  • #9
Moonbear
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I think we may get different responses here depending on what country you live in and tax laws in those countries.

In the U.S., not-for-profit organizations are tax-exempt, and churches are usually non-profit. They don't receive special status because they are religious organizations, and that's the way it should be in the U.S.
 
  • #10
Astronuc
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I would just be repeating what Russ and Moonbear have stated.

The members of the church pay taxes on their incomes. If a church is 'profitable', it would have to pay taxes. Most churches 'donate' excess money to charities and perform other social services, in some cases where governments refuse to provide such services.

Churches (religions) in US have a different status than those in Europe, an artifact of history, where the European churches were linked to the royalty or government.

The US government does not support or subsidize any church, however the Bush administration is close to stepping over the line with Bush's faith-based initiatives.

I would have prefered a "It depends" choice in the poll. Where a church is a property owner and derives 'income' from the property, then it should pay taxes like any other business. On the other hand, the church could provide charity in lieu of taxes.
 
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  • #11
dextercioby
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Non profit i undestand,yet how do they earn they money?I hope they're not falling outta the sky...:rolleyes:

Daniel.
 
  • #12
brewnog
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Moonbear said:
They don't receive special status because they are religious organizations, and that's the way it should be in the U.S.
Defo! Same here anyway. Setting aside the fact that religious institutions are at large wasps nest of dogma, they also often do some pretty good charity work.
 
  • #13
Evo
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My feelings are mixed. Yes, there are charities, but the major churches, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc... take in billions in income. I believe the Catholic church is still queen of the pigs in income, but the Baptists are next (at least in the US). If they were taxed, just think of what those extra tax dollars could do for the populace.

It just angers me when I see things like the new Catholic church facility near where I live that cost millions of dollars. This wasn't necessary. They could have built a facility of the same size for a fraction of the cost. (I was raised Catholic, btw).

I'm not talking about the pastors and priests, the people at the bottom, they get very little money, I'm talking about the organization itself.

With the exception of all those scam artist self-proclaimed evangelists, those people are just shameless.
 
  • #15
Moonbear
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dextercioby said:
Non profit i undestand,yet how do they earn they money?I hope they're not falling outta the sky...:rolleyes:

Daniel.
They get the money they use the same way other non-profits get their funds. Donations and charity fund-raising. Small donations come in from the members when they pass the collection basket around during services, and the usual bake-sale type of events. More donations come in when they perform marriages, baptisms, funerals, etc. Most churches have a meeting hall they rent for events (in the church I attended as a kid, this was a multi-function room that served as the cafeteria, auditorium and gym for the attached school, the bingo hall...yeah, bingo brings in a lot of money...it was attached to the church in such a way that partitions could be opened and it provided another annex to the church to hold the congregation for larger masses, and when it wasn't being used for anything else, could be rented for receptions), and there are people who include in their will a donation of a portion (or all) of their estate to the church when they die.
 
  • #16
Moonbear
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Evo said:
My feelings are mixed. Yes, there are charities, but the major churches, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc... take in billions in income. I believe the Catholic church is still queen of the pigs in income, but the Baptists are next (at least in the US). If they were taxed, just think of what those extra tax dollars could do for the populace.
This is why I think they shouldn't receive special status. The IRS should be taking a close look at their tax forms (they still have to file, even if they are non-profit, just to document that status), and don't assume that just because they have "Church" in their name that they are really non-profit.

It just angers me when I see things like the new Catholic church facility near where I live that cost millions of dollars. This wasn't necessary. They could have built a facility of the same size for a fraction of the cost. (I was raised Catholic, btw).
I had the same feeling returning to the church I was raised in for my nephew's baptism. I hadn't been there since I was a teenager, and it disgusted me what they had done. They had completely remodeled it into a more modern interior, including ugly, blue windows :confused: instead of the stained glass it used to have (it had beautiful stained glass windows, why would you replace those?) There were now marble entryways and a fountain in the entrance (at first I thought it might be the baptismal font, but it wasn't...this monstrosity that looked like a jucuzzi is now the baptismal font...my mom got mad that I kept joking that the priests probably used it as a hot tub when nobody was around). I don't know why people would donate to the church when they are clearly using the money for interior decorating instead of for charity. It clearly hasn't helped them maintain a congregation.

[off-topic rant] That was the most striking difference. The last mass on Sunday (the one attended by all the lazy folks who didn't get up early for church) was always packed full; if you didn't arrive early (just as the previous mass was letting out), you'd wind up sitting in the annex rather than the main church, and if you arrived a few minutes late, it would be standing room only. Now, the church was mostly empty for mass, and the selfishness among the congregants was astounding! When I was a kid, if you sat down and someone else needed a seat, everyone scooted further into the pew to give that person a seat, even if it meant being rather "cozy" with those sitting next to you. Here, we had a half-empty church, and my sister was standing there with a baby carrier, and nobody would even move their feet so she could get around them into an empty seat in the middle, let alone actually scoot inward so she could sit near the end where she could get out if the baby fussed. During the peace offering, nobody turned to anyone other than their own family they were sitting with. This was also quite different from how I was raised, where you shook hands and offered peace with anyone you could reach on all sides of you. I quite appalled by this difference. I had seen these differences in other churches, and assumed it was different attitudes in different churches, but to return to my "home" parish and see the same thing tells me it is endemic to the Catholic church as a whole. Things were bad when I left the church, and they've only gotten worse.[/off-topic rant]
 
  • #17
dextercioby
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Moonbear said:
They get the money they use the same way other non-profits get their funds. Donations and charity fund-raising. Small donations come in from the members when they pass the collection basket around during services, and the usual bake-sale type of events. More donations come in when they perform marriages, baptisms, funerals, etc. Most churches have a meeting hall they rent for events (in the church I attended as a kid, this was a multi-function room that served as the cafeteria, auditorium and gym for the attached school, the bingo hall...yeah, bingo brings in a lot of money...it was attached to the church in such a way that partitions could be opened and it provided another annex to the church to hold the congregation for larger masses, and when it wasn't being used for anything else, could be rented for receptions), and there are people who include in their will a donation of a portion (or all) of their estate to the church when they die.

That's plain outrageous and such behavior should be strictly monitored and the taxed should be collected like in any other domain.

To me,what u've described is called BEGGARY... :mad:

Beggars should pay taxes,too.

Daniel.
 
  • #18
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dextercioby said:
That's plain outrageous and such behavior should be strictly monitored and the taxed should be collected like in any other domain.

To me,what u've described is called BEGGARY... :mad:

Beggars should pay taxes,too.

Daniel.
I think you are seriously misunderstanding the difference between a profit driven organization and a nonprofit organization.

Here are a few key differences:

1.
Goals

Business
Get maximum profit with available investment and sales; owners get profits.
Non-Profit
Deliver maximum service with available donations and sales; any surplus must be used solely for the non-profit agency's authorized mission.


2.
Personnel/Staffing

Business
100% paid staff and contractors.
Non-Profit
Significant share of work in non-profits is done by volunteers who receive little or no financial compensation and may not be shown on the financial statements. Volunteers expect/demand more participation in decision-making, are more likely to quit if not appreciated properly.


3.
Taxation

Business
Pays FICA, Workmen's compensation, state unemployment insurance (SUI), and withholding taxes for all employees; pays property taxes and sales taxes on purchases not resold; pays federal income taxes if it's a "regular" corporation, but not if it's a partnership, "subchapter S" corporation, or proprietorship; may also pay state income taxes.
Non-Profit
Same as partnership or "subchapter S" corporation, except may have state exemption from state or local property, sales, or income tax. Tax exempt status for non-profit organizations does not mean they pay no taxes; it means only that they are exempt from Federal income taxes.


I found these three from http://www.nonprofits.org/npofaq/18/82.html [Broken].

If you still feel the way you do about taxing nonprofit organizations then what about charities? Are they nonprofit?

Regards
 
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  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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As a comment about all of this and role of churches in general:

I did a quick search and took a random example: Here are 25 of 133 four star charities sponsored by the Catholic Church - which I believe gives more through charity and services than any other single institution on earth. What a bunch of pigs eh?

AID TO THE CHURCH IN RUSSIA
Raising funds to assist the Catholic Church in Russia

Religion- Religious Activities
Great Falls, VA 22066 - South Add to My Charities Compare


2 APOSTOLATE FOR FAMILY CONSECRATION
Nourishing families through the Catholic faith

Religion- Religious Media and Broadcasting
Bloomingdale, OH 43910 - Midwest Add to My Charities Compare


3 ASSOCIATED CATHOLIC CHARITIES, ARCHDIOCESE OF BALTIMORE
Cherishing the divine within

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Baltimore, MD 21201 - Mid-Atlantic Add to My Charities Compare



4 ATLANTA UNION MISSION
Largest homeless services provider in the Southeast

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Atlanta, GA 30301 - South Add to My Charities Compare



5 BIG SHOULDERS FUND
It takes Big Shoulders to carry a child's dreams

Education- Other Education Programs and Services
Chicago, IL 60606 - Midwest Add to My Charities Compare



6 BISHOP GASSIS SUDAN RELIEF FUND
Bringing help and hope to persecuted people

International- Single Country Support Organizations
Manassas, VA 20108 - South Add to My Charities Compare



7 BOSTON COLLEGE
A Jesuit, Catholic university committed to academic excellence

Education- Universities, Graduate Schools, and Technological
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 - Northeast Add to My Charities Compare



8 BOSTON RESCUE MISSION
Transforming lives since 1899

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Boston, MA 02112 - Northeast Add to My Charities Compare



9 BREAKTHROUGH URBAN MINISTRIES
Transforming people and communities from the inside out

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Chicago, IL 60640 - Midwest Add to My Charities Compare



10 CALL TO ACTION
Catholics working together to foster peace and justice

Religion- Religious Activities
Chicago, IL 60618 - Midwest Add to My Charities Compare



11 CATHOLIC CHARITIES HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Continuing the mission of Jesus by responding to those in need

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Cleveland, OH 44102 - Midwest Add to My Charities Compare



12 CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF BUFFALO
Hope for all seasons

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Buffalo, NY 14203 - Northeast Add to My Charities Compare



13 CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY
Providing social services to the most vulnerable in our society

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Bridgeport, CT 06606 - Northeast Add to My Charities Compare



14 CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF LOS ANGELES
Committed to enhancing the social mission of the Church

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Los Angeles, CA 90015 - Pacific West Add to My Charities Compare



15 CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Serving people of all beliefs

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
San Jose, CA 95134 - Pacific West Add to My Charities Compare



16 CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF ST. PAUL & MINNEAPOLIS
Strengthening families, reducing poverty and building communities

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Minneapolis, MN 55403 - Midwest Add to My Charities Compare



17 CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE EAST BAY
Helping people in need overcome poverty, building compassionate communities, and advocating for justice

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Oakland, CA 94607 - Pacific West Add to My Charities Compare



18 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, ARCHDIOCESE OF DENVER
Providing help, creating hope

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Denver, CO 80219 - Mountain West Add to My Charities Compare



19 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, ARCHDIOCESE OF MILWAUKEE
Inspired by Christ's call to serve

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Milwaukee, WI 53207 - Midwest Add to My Charities Compare



20 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS
Multi-program social service agency of the Archdiocese of New Orleans

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
New Orleans, LA 70113 - South Add to My Charities Compare



21 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, ARCHDIOCESE OF OKLAHOMA CITY
In all things charity

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Oklahoma City, OK 73106 - Southwest Add to My Charities Compare



22 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, ARCHDIOCESE OF SAN FRANCISCO
Serving people of all faiths since 1907

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
San Francisco, CA 94117 - Pacific West Add to My Charities Compare



23 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON
Faith. Works. Wonders.

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Washington, DC 20001 - Mid-Atlantic Add to My Charities Compare



24 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, DIOCESE OF ALBANY
Providing help and creating hope since 1917

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Albany, NY 12203 - Northeast Add to My Charities Compare

25 CATHOLIC CHARITIES, DIOCESE OF GALVESTON-HOUSTON
Providing help. Creating hope.

Human Services- Catholic Charities, Rescue Missions
Houston, TX 77266 - Southwest Add to My Charities Compare

Displaying records 1 through 25 of 133

http://www.charitynavigator.org/ind...&keyword_list=Catholic&Submit.x=12&Submit.y=0
 
  • #20
dextercioby
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Yes,i feel the same about charity,too,church involved,or not.If people donate money in private,then it's okay,the state cannot do anything about it.But if someone gives away money in public & makes a big fuss about it,then that money need to be taxed...I still believe in MONEY THROUGH LABOR...If we tax gambling and prostitution,why not tax the church?

Daniel.
 
  • #21
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dextercioby said:
Yes,i feel the same about charity,too,church involved,or not.If people donate money in private,then it's okay,the state cannot do anything about it.But if someone gives away money in public & makes a big fuss about it,then that money need to be taxed...I still believe in MONEY THROUGH LABOR...If we tax gambling and prostitution,why not tax the church?

Daniel.
Since when has the church stopped being a non-profit organization. What about all the properties that were donated (in private if you will) to the church. Really, taxing churches is not only useless, it is also not realistic and can't be done in a civilised and justified manner.

Like it or not but the church is a moral institution that cannot be compared to some kind of private organization that makes money by selling products. The use and tasks of the church is situated on a totally different level and this institution plays a totally different role in society then whatever kind of firm or major corporation. I am convinced of the fact that by treating the church in the same manner as other 'at first sight more profitable' organizations, is the source of the many misconceptions and prejudices that exist around this holy institution. For example : misconception number one : who ever said that the church needs to be progressive and needs to adapt itself to whatever evolution that is going on in society. Not every 'at first sight spectacular or seemingly postive' evolution in some parts of society will be good and solid for the future. Just look at our dear friends the hippies (or communism or the nazis ?) and their 'ingenious' way of looking at life. Would you think that i were a good thing if the church adapted itself to that evolution? What remains of this artefact of history?

Beware, i did not say that the church must stay exactly the same !!!

regards
marlon, who now runs and hides...sorry, but i am a big fan of the catholic church...
 
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  • #22
dextercioby
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marlon said:
Since when has the church stopped being a non-profit organization. What about all the properties that were donated (in private if you will) to the church. Really, taxing churches is not only useless, it is also not realistic and can't be done in a civilised and justified manner.
I emphasize the word "fair",or if u like "discriminatory"...It would be a discriminatory attitude (towards the ones who pay taxes) by excepting church's income from taxes...That's where i stand...

marlon said:
Like it or not but the church is a moral institution that cannot be compared to some kind of private organization that makes money by selling products.
Yet it makes money... :wink:

marlon said:
The use and tasks of the church is situated on a totally different level and this institution plays a totally different role in society then whatever kind of firm or major corporation.
You've given the example with properties which were aquired during the centuries by the church;done so through various methods,even by declaring the owner as a heretic,burning'im and taking his land.It's private property,just like your car,like your house,like your land.Do you pay taxes for owning a car,owning a house,a piece of land...?Sure you do.Do you like that some individuals who are in the same position as you (i.e.OWNERS) be excepted from the LAW...??I wouldn't...

It's okay not to approve my point...We're different individuals... :wink:

Daniel.
 
  • #23
russ_watters
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dextercioby said:
Yes,i feel the same about charity,too,church involved,or not.If people donate money in private,then it's okay,the state cannot do anything about it.But if someone gives away money in public & makes a big fuss about it,then that money need to be taxed...I still believe in MONEY THROUGH LABOR...If we tax gambling and prostitution,why not tax the church?

Daniel.
Well this'll be a kick in the teeth: not only is that money not taxable for the charity, its also subtracted from your income when calculating your taxes.
 
  • #24
dextercioby
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So the state is an idiot and i'm just a loser...Assume i have earned 50$.If i keep'em,after the state takes its share,i'm left with 35$...If i give that 50 away & be left with nada,the state loses that 15$...

What kinda sick world do we live in...?

Oh,& yeah...I'm so cheap,i'd never give away money,without asking or something in return...

Daniel.

P.S.My teeth are fine...:wink:
 
  • #25
SOS2008
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My family's church has owned quite a few business operations, and though churches such as this do have to file with the IRS, these reports do not have to be made public--so who knows the truth? This church collects tithing, etc., which goes primarily to upkeep of churches, etc., though how much if any actually goes to charity is not apparent.

Several evangelical organizations use their collections to pay for T.V. broadcasts, which costs millions. One must wonder if using donations to proselyte in this manner should be tax-deductible -- It certainly has nothing to do with charity.

So maybe these religious organizations should only be tax-exempt with regard to charitable donations just as private citizens can write this off? And what if the taxes generated were used to help the poor, the elderly, etc.? This way we could ensure that the money wasn't going to support lavish lifestyles of evangelicals, etc., and was truly being used for the needy...?

However, if taxing these organizations results in the right to become political organizations, I would prefer to forgo the revenue. :eek:
 

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