“The Church Will Not Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status”

Sam Brunson, a Loyola (Chicago) professor specializing in tax law, searched IRS private letter rulings and sums up the results at the Mormon website By Common Consent (via Paul Caron/TaxProf, who assembles other links). For some academics’ views on whether the Bob Jones U. precedent (exemption denied to educational institution on grounds of race discrimination) will or should be pushed further into other areas, see Inside Higher Education and Caroline Corbin, SSRN (sex discrimination).

More on the Bob Jones U. case: Regulation magazine, Jan./Feb. 1982, more via Steven Hayward. More on the parsonage (housing) allowance, one bit of the tax code that does favor religious entities over otherwise comparable nonprofits: Ronald Hiner and Darlene Pulliam Smith/Journal of Accountancy, Erwin Chemerinsky/Duke (anti), Jonathan Whitehead and Becket Fund (pro). Journalists stirring the pot recently: Felix Salmon, Fusion; Mark Oppenheimer, Time.


  • “They won’t come after us, so s**w the other guy.”

    Paging Martin Niemoller!


  • Not too sure what significance Prof. Brunson’s analysis has in a judicial climate in which an “Exchange created by a State” means both Exchanges created by a State and Exchanges not created by a State (yes, I read the majority decision. It was gobbledygook).
    To cut to the chase, modern federal jurisprudence is an expression of political preference, an exercise of raw power, nothing more.
    Since reading Roe v. Wade in school many years ago, I had considered it to be a fluke. It is not.

  • Still, if you want the services of a private organization, you have to sometimes become and act as bona fide member.
    For a church, that might mean being a member-in-good-standing; attend services weekly for a year, participate in pre-marital counseling, participate with charitable works and missions of the church, fundraise, and contribute to the coffers.
    Seems like a lot of work for a couple who do not adhere to the beliefs or mission of an organization to do just so that at the end they can possibly spring a gotcha lawsuit. Don’t believe a jury would like the idea of moles infiltrating their religious or cultural affinity groups.

    All charitable and non profit organizations, whether religious or secular, have requirements of their voluntary members. Nothing says that membership has to be easy. Membership must only not exclude on the protected qualities of the Individual, not the services that a couple or trios might want provided.

  • But in Oregon, they could be denied state-tax benefits. Actually, change that “could” to “must”.

  • “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”

    – Daniel Webster

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