Tax Exemptions

1957 Words 8 Pages
For over a century, churches have been exempt from paying taxes. With the decline of religious association in the last several years and the advancements in American society, the validity of tax exemptions has been questioned. Some people believe that organizations that are exempt from paying taxes are given an unfair advantage over organizations that are required to pay taxes. Others believe that tax exemptions are necessary for such organizations. There are many different viewpoints on the issue, making it not an easy one to resolve. There are many stakeholders that could be affected greatly by a change in the policy of church tax exemptions. Therefore, it is an issue in which many factors must be taken into consideration. The question …show more content…
The first issue with exempting churches from paying taxes is the forcing of the Internal Revenue Service to decide what a religion is. Religion is an term that is difficult to define for scientists, and therefore, even more difficult for people in the Internal Revenue Service (Oppenheimer). To avoid the seemingly impossible task of defining what is considered a religion, tax exemptions should just be taken away from all religious institutions and nonprofit organizations. This would prevent issues of inequality. Another reason that churches should have to pay taxes is that they do not agree with national public policy of gay marriage. In 1983, a university was threatened of losing its tax exempt status if they did not support the national public policy. The same could be used against churches who do not support the national accepted policy of gay marriage (Oppenheimer). If an organization does not agree with national policy, then it should not be given advantages by the government. Supporters of gay rights certainly have a voice in the conversation about church tax exemptions, believing that now is the time to end tax exemptions for any …show more content…
They have the ultimate say in who is taxed and who is exempt from paying taxes. Obviously, the current voice of the Internal Revenue Service in the issue of church tax exemptions is the laws that are currently in place. The IRS recognizes an institution as being exempt from taxes if they meet several requirements. First, they must operate solely for “religious, educational, scientific, or charitable purposes” (IRS). Also, the earnings of the organization cannot go to an individual. They cannot greatly impact legislation or get involved in political campaigns. Lastly, they must act legally in accordance to national public policy. Meeting these requirements provides and organization the ability to be exempt from taxes. However, it is not as simple as it seems. There are exeptions and inconsistencies in the rules. For instance, churches often do not agree with the national public policy of recognizing gay marriage, but they still do not have to pay taxes. The Internal Revenue Service has a very important voice in this issue, but they need to be much more specific about their regulations. The inconsistencies and loopholes in the laws deeming an organization able to be exempt from taxes makes the issue much more complex and therefore, needs to be

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