http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/08/22/churches_should_be_t...

glad someone finally said it.  it'll never happen but it should.

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Hell, yeah!  I'm all for it!

There will be an outcry, though.  Sure the right-wing churches who have sided with the TEA Party and are generally reactionary will scream bloody ... but so will a lot of churches that HAVEN'T been politically active.  They'll wonder why they're being grouped in with the loudmouths out there and wonder why they have to pay for sins they haven't committed.  Certainly, some of these churches, especially the smaller ones, might buckle under such a financial load.

Which is why I still think that the IRS needs to focus on those who HAVE chosen to be politically active, have participated in Freedom Pulpit Sunday, and have actively scorned the concept of church / state separation.  Such churches should be singled out, stripped of their tax-exempt status, then HAMMERED and hammered HARD.  Make a public example of such scofflaws and it's just possible that others might think twice before taking similar action.

No, I'm not going soft on religion.  Just trying to be fair here.

i agree that your solution would be better, but the public outcry would be more intense if specific churches were targeted.  just tax the whole lot of them and be done with it. 

Maybe ... but with either action, you got one major-league problem: Getting It Through Congress!

Hell might freeze over sooner, especially the way Congress has been not working...

honestly Loren, i think this would be opposed by partisans on both sides of the aisle.  marijuana legislation would have better footing than this would.  too bad, it's a great idea.  and we could use the money :)

Agreed!! Tax every church the same across the board. Having different tax statuses for individual churches just opens the door to loopholes and fraudulent claims.

someone decided to run the numbers.  check this out:

Matt Yglesias raised a few eyebrows this week, arguing that it's time to treat houses of worship like every other tax-eligible entity, which in turn raised a related question: just how much money is at stake?

Researchers at the University of Tampa set out to quantify the answer, and Dylan Matthewssummarized the findings.

When people donate to religious groups, it's tax-deductible. Churches don't pay property taxes on their land or buildings. When they buy stuff, they don't pay sales taxes. When they sell stuff at a profit, they don't pay capital gains tax. If they spend less than they take in, they don't pay corporate income taxes. Priests, ministers, rabbis and the like get "parsonage exemptions" that let them deduct mortgage payments, rent and other living expenses when they're doing their income taxes. They also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes (and benefits).

So, how much money are we talking about here? The University of Tampa research puts the total at $71 billion, which is obviously an enormous chunk of change. Note, however, that it's on the low end of possible estimates -- as Matthews explained, the figure doesn't include local income and property tax exemptions, or charitable deductions worth additional tens of billions of dollars.

Seeing the figures makes me even more outraged at what they get away with.

i know, right?  $71 billion (per year i'm assuming) for belief in the non-existent?  amazing.

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