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question to the parfer's--- TAXES????

would it help if religions were taxed?

would you tax them as a individual or a business?
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lane912 View Post
would it help if religions were taxed?

would you tax them as a individual or a business?
Sure -- Right after you pass a Constitutional amendment. Next question...
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:52 PM
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carter threatened the LDS, IIRC, with taxes, if they continued discriminating against blacks. yeah, he did a couple of good things. the other was amending the rules regarding homemade wine and beer.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:03 PM
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Given that the catholic church is much more focused on ripping the bills out of elderly hands than anything else, yeah, fark em, let em at taxes........of course I just spent all day working on the partnership return and k1s because I'm way to dense to hire someone....... :/
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:03 PM
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This sounds great at first but one needs to think of the unintended consequences - I suspect this would be unconstitutional since doing so would amount to government endorsement of a state religion (or religions). Only religions that were "popular" enough and/or run as shrewdly enough as businesses or quasi-businesses would survive, religions that are less contemporary, mainstream or who appeal to less wealthy people would suffer disproportionately and therefore be "discriminated against". Thus the government would effectively be selecting for / encouraging religions that were "flavor of the month" successful rather than one that's traditional. Does the government really want to be getting into the business of telling some orthodox zealot that their religion is less legitimate because it doesn't pull in as much money as some tv televangelist and ultimately cause it to go under due to tax burden? I doubt it - it'd be a constitutional lawyer's field day.

Personally I love the idea a first but there are BIG constitutional hurdles to this...
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:59 AM
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How does taxation equate to an endorsement?
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:10 AM
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if it was a flat 10% tax they would all be taxed equally-
the zealot can send in his $100 and the catholic church would pay substantially more-

funny the only financial info i could find on the Catholic church was 10 -12 years old-
ZENIT - Economic Report of the Holy See for 2000
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:39 AM
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interesting idea that tax free status of churches IS a endorsement of religion by the government-



Tax Exemptions Available to Churches: Tax Exemptions & Religion

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America’s tax laws are designed to favor non-profit and charitable institutions which presumably benefit the community. The buildings of private schools and universities, for example, are exempt from property taxes. Donations to charities like the Red Cross are tax deductible. Organizations which engage in medical or scientific research can take advantage of favorable tax laws. Environmental groups can raise tax-free funds by selling books.

Churches, however, tend to benefit the most from the various tax exemptions available, in particular because they qualify for many of them automatically, whereas non-religious groups have to go through a more complicated application and approval process. Non-religious groups also have to be more accountable for where their money goes, while churches, in order to avoid possibly excessive entanglements between church and state, do not have to submit financial disclosure statements.

Tax benefits for religious organizations fall into three general categories: tax-free donations, tax-free land and tax-free commercial enterprises. The first two are much easier to defend and arguments against permitting them are much weaker. The latter, however, often creates problems.



Tax-free Donations: Donations to churches function just like the tax-free donations one might make to any non-profit organization or community group: whatever a person donates is subtracted from their total income before taxes are calculated. This is supposed to encourage people to give more and better support to such groups, which presumably are providing benefits to the community that the government now does not need to be responsible for.



Tax-Free Land: Exemptions from property taxes represent an even larger benefit to churches — there may be as much as $100 billion dollars in untaxed church property in the United States. This creates a problem, according to some, because the tax exemption amounts to a gift of money to the churches at the expense of tax payers. For every dollar which the government cannot collect on church property, it must make up for by collecting it from citizens; thus all citizens are forced to indirectly support churches, even those they do not belong to and may even oppose.

Unfortunately, this indirect violation of the separation of church and state may be necessary in order to avoid a very direct violation of the free exercise of religion. The taxation of church property would put churches more directly at the mercy of the government because the power to tax is, in the long run, the power to control or even destroy.

By removing church property from the power of the state to tax, church property is also removed from the power of the state to directly interfere with. Thus, a hostile government would find it more difficult to interfere with an unpopular or minority religious group. Small local communities sometimes have bad track records with showing tolerance towards new and unusual religious groups; giving them more power over such groups would not be a good idea.

Nevertheless, none of that changes the fact that property tax exemptions are a problem. Not only are citizens forced to indirectly support religious organizations, but some groups benefit much more than others, resulting in problematic religious favoritism. Some institutions, like the Catholic and Mormon churches, have billions of dollars in property whereas others, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, own much, much less.

There is also, unfortunately, the real problem of fraud. Some people tired of high property taxes will send away for mail-order “divinity” diplomas and claim that, because they are now ministers, their personal property is exempt from taxes. The problem got to be enough that in 1981, New York State passed a law declaring mail-order religious exemptions to be illegal.

Even some religious leaders agree that the property tax exemptions are problematic. Eugene Carson Blake, a former head of the National Council of Churches, complained once that tax exemptions ended up putting a greater tax burden on the poor who could least afford it. He feared that one day, the people might turn against their wealthy churches and demand restitution.

The idea that wealthy churches have abandoned their true mission also bothered James Pike, a former Episcopal bishop in San Francisco. According to him, some churches have become much too involved with money and other worldly matters, blinding them to the spiritual calling which should be their focus.

Some groups, like the American Jewish Congress, have made donations to local governments in place of the taxes which they do not have to pay. This shows that they truly are concerned with the entire local community, not simply their own members or congregation, and that they are interested in supporting the government services which they use.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:46 AM
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I don't see how taxing religions is endorsing a public religion as long as they're all taxed equally. Quite the opposite, giving them preferential tax treatment and passing judgement on what is and what is not a "legitimate" religion as we do now does endorse some religions over others.
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Will taxing religions help what?
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:49 AM
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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; "

Taxing a religious entity would certainly have an effect on that entity's ability to provide religious services.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:56 AM
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It could be considered endorsement because the policy would tend to favor certain religions over others - they'd become competitive and it would favor more contemporary ones over older, traditionalist ones or smaller ones with lower per participant revenue streams. It would force churches to act like businesses which would definitely favor certain messages / approaches over others which may run contrary to some faiths' core beliefs. I just see the whole thing as problematic constitutionally even though on the surface I'd like to see it too.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:02 AM
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Why do you want to tax more? The problem isn't a revenue problem, it is an overspending problem.

We need to do eveything we can to reduce spending before we try to start grabbing more from the economy.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:08 AM
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Why do you want to tax more? The problem isn't a revenue problem, it is an overspending problem.

We need to do everything we can to reduce spending before we try to start grabbing more from the economy.
yes- it is a spending issue, and we have all agreed to that.
if spending is cut, dare I say budget balanced ( no chance in he!!) and new streams of revenue are found the average tax liability to the individual could go down-


or not, and more government shows up-

yes- double edged sword-
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:18 AM
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It could be considered endorsement because the policy would tend to favor certain religions over others - they'd become competitive and it would favor more contemporary ones over older, traditionalist ones or smaller ones with lower per participant revenue streams. It would force churches to act like businesses which would definitely favor certain messages / approaches over others which may run contrary to some faiths' core beliefs. I just see the whole thing as problematic constitutionally even though on the surface I'd like to see it too.
I see your point. This would make for an excellent discussion.

The imposition of taxes causing a fundamental shift in how a church conducts itself. Moving from faith based to revenue based. Interesting and quite compelling.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:08 AM
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um..... aren't all churches revenue based? 'ministry' has to be about the second oldest 'profession' in the world, right after prostitution.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
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would it help if religions were taxed?

would you tax them as a individual or a business?
First tell us what country you are from, then maybe we can explain what the USA is.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:00 AM
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Quote:

Quote de lane912



would it help if religions were taxed?



would you tax them as a individual or a business?

First tell us what country you are from, then maybe we can explain what the USA is.
Born in Salem, Oregon-
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Last edited by lane912; 09-18-2012 at 09:28 AM..
Old 09-18-2012, 09:20 AM
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Sanctimonious BS

Tell me how a ministry that is not "run as a revinue business" IS allowed protection under bankruptcy law? Why should they on the one hand be allowed to operate tax free and still be allowed to benefit from mismanagement?

Who ends up making up the deficits in the bankrupcy filing?

Look at any mega church ministry that operates theme parks, builds crystal cathedrals and whatever else and try to convince me that is to Glorify God.

IT IS SELF SERVING.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:39 AM
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If we tax non-profits, should we eliminate deductions for charitable giving as well?
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