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News Should the church be taxed?

  1. Oct 28, 2012 #1
    In my opinion, the church shouldn't be subject to any tax exemptions at all. It should be taxed, and the taxes should be reinvested on noble causes, such as health care, education, scientific and technological development, resource and environmental protection, housing security and food security, etc.
     
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  3. Oct 28, 2012 #2

    Astronuc

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    Should all non-profit and/or charitable organizations be taxed?

    Churches have traditional provided social services. Their funding comes from the membership, although some churches do own commercial property that generates revenue.
     
  4. Oct 28, 2012 #3
    "Should all non-profit and/or charitable organizations be taxed?"

    Depends on their utility/revenue values, although there should be a maximum tax rate beyond which non-profit organizations can't be taxed (ex: 30%). Only a part of the churches' revenues goes to charitable causes. The rest goes on socially useless causes, such as religious missionary programs, religious activism, church property accumulation, etc.

    The degree of social usefulness can be determined by having an expert council vote on it.
     
  5. Oct 28, 2012 #4

    Ryan_m_b

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    Non-profit yes (to some extent) and I agree that religious institutions should not be taxed on their charitable programs but I don't see why tax exemption should apply across the board when ultimately they are not charities and qualifying for religious tax exemption is largely arbitrary e.g. Scientology not being classed as a tax exempt religion in many countries.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  6. Oct 28, 2012 #5

    DavidSnider

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    Why an expert council? When it comes to charity why not just let people vote with their wallets? I certainly would much rather give to specific charities than let the government be the sole decider on what is a socially worthy cause.
     
  7. Oct 28, 2012 #6

    Ryan_m_b

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    How do you vote with your wallet for what is a charity? Charitable status in [strike]the UK[/strike] England and Wales at least is awarded by the charity commission which is an arm of the government. Therefore the government is responsible for deciding on what constitutes a charity but ultimately they are accountable to the people.

    That's not to say I agree with Cinitiator that there should be an expert council that has to vote on each charity but that there has to be an agreed upon set of requirements for an organisation to register as a charity with a good amount of accountability all the way through.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  8. Oct 28, 2012 #7

    turbo

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    The Roman Catholic Church owns about 1/2 of the property in the largest city in this area. They generate lots of income, but pay no taxes, so the burden of providing security, fire protection and other services falls on others. Not fair, and the situation (IMO) is hampering economic growth, since some pretty profitable business have been established and expanded over the years to surrounding towns with fairer tax burdens.

    I am a spiritual person but non-denominational. I was raised in the Catholic church, until I was old enough to rebel and kick the traces. Even back 50 years ago, it was quite obvious that the church was a highly profitable global business. I'd like to see all organizations pay taxes on their profits. If they do charitable work, we can exempt those expenditures from taxation.

    Incorporating as a "church" should not absolve one from taxation - just look at the explosion of mega-churches in the last couple of decades. Lots of money coming in tax-free, to the detriment of all taxpayers.
     
  9. Oct 28, 2012 #8

    DavidSnider

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    Basic oversight doesn't seem to be the intent of the OP. He's saying he finds things like 'missionary programs' as socially useless and that the funds should be siphoned off to the government for things he does find valuable.
     
  10. Oct 28, 2012 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    The ministry of service that missionaries partake in is often charitable and so should be tax exempt however they also come with an evangelical side which should not be. How one could work out what goes on what and what's fair I'm not sure but I don't think that efforts to gain converts for a religion should count as a service to society or charitable action in a secular nation.
     
  11. Oct 28, 2012 #10

    turbo

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    When I was a little kid (maybe 10), my great-aunt told me some pretty heady stuff about the RCC. I had mentioned that our church had hosted some African missionaries and collected money for that cause. Aunt Dora said that the church sent the missionaries begging to us because we Mainers were only marginally better-off than Africans. She saw my incomprehension, and explained that when the church wanted money from the Hartford area, they sent in speakers that claimed that churches in Maine needed furnace repairs and new roofs. A very sharp old lady.
     
  12. Oct 28, 2012 #11

    DavidSnider

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    Maybe things are different in the UK, but in the US 'spreading the gospel' is seen as a worthy social cause in itself. That's why I'd rather not have politicians playing favorites with charities.
     
  13. Oct 28, 2012 #12
    Should spreading astrology, 2012 millenarianism, Nibiru cataclysm, and other irrational and harmful beliefs be considered as worthy as well? Spreading anything which asses itself to be a fact without being a tautology or an empirical theory etc. is harmful, and shouldn't be considered worthy.
     
  14. Oct 28, 2012 #13

    DavidSnider

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    What makes you think the government is any better at weeding out harmful and irrational beliefs than a church?

    The US government buys dowsing rods to detect bombs. Seriously.
     
  15. Oct 28, 2012 #14
    There is a case for taxing the profit that churches make on business ventures. However, the money that is given voluntarily to churches is not taxed because of the first amendment. I think this is better left as it is.
     
  16. Oct 28, 2012 #15

    Ryan_m_b

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    Seen as a worthy social cause by whom; the people, the government or both? How would you award tax exempt status without governments being involved?
     
  17. Oct 28, 2012 #16
    No, but I also don't think tithing should be tax deductible. The government should pretend as though religion does not exist.
     
  18. Oct 28, 2012 #17

    DavidSnider

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    Both the people and the government. (The government being made up by the people...)

    Again, I'm not talking about simply granting tax exempt status.

    The government has more than enough channels to raise revenues already. Why complicate charities which are one of the most effective forms of direct democracy?
     
  19. Oct 28, 2012 #18
    No, I do not think churches should be taxed.
     
  20. Oct 28, 2012 #19
    My problem is that churches don't have to abide by the same filing requirements that other charities do.

    From http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Churches-&-Religious-Organizations/Filing-Requirements
    So, where other non-profit organizations have to file taxes to prove they meet the requirements of being a non-profit, churches are exempt. Additionally, church ministers don't have to pay taxes on their incomes unlike any other non-profit organization.

    To me, this shows undue favoritism to religious organizations over non-religious organizations.

    Treat churches just like any other non-profit organization.
     
  21. Oct 28, 2012 #20

    Ryan_m_b

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    I don't see that this has much to do with direct democracy since it's not a community voting on where community funds go but an individual deciding where an individual's funds can go within boundaries set by the community.

    Personally I don't think that evangelism is deserved of tax exempt status, any charitable work a church does then fine make it tax deductible but not across the board exempt just because your organisation partakes in some charitable activity.
     
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