We Should Be Taxing Churches

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by rdowns, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #1
    I've been saying this for a long time.

    Link


    Then I found this.

    You give religions more than $82.5 billion a year

     
  2. GermanyChris, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013

    GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #2
    I agree!
















    If the tobacco industry can sell an imaginary and deadly image pay's taxes the varied cults who do the same ought to also.
     
  3. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I am totally for it. I don't understand why churches would be completely tax-exempt. Well, yes, I do know "why" they are. But whether or not it's right is a different question.
     
  4. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #4
    Yup, I also wished for churches to be taxed for the longest.
     
  5. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #5
    I think it depends on the Church.

    There are lots of huge Megachurch's with staff that make 100,000+ per year and don't do much charity work, and are mostly money making rock shows with coffee bars, those should be taxed.

    However, while I am an atheist. I know lots of small, local community churches that actually do very good charity work, and make a big difference in disadvantaged communities. And help out the local population. Those church's should not be taxed.

    The Catholic Church? Despite its problems and issues, the Catholic Parish's in the places I've lived. Have always been very charitable, helpful running soup kitchens, free baseline education and housing for the homeless, thrift stores to cloeth people, should they be taxed? I don't think so.

    I once was dragged to a catholic mass by some friends who just wanted to appease their parents who were visiting when I still lived in Chicago, so I thought it might be fun ( it was, lots of history lessons actually ), anyway halfway through the mass 2 meth addicts just had the **** beat out of them and stumbled into the front door, the service stopped, the priest ran over to help them and stop their bleeding via a first aid kit, stayed with them until a ambulance arrived.

    Later on, I find out the same parish put them up for awhile, assisted them with finding a job, education, and cleaning up from meth. Both are fairly successful and lead good lifes now.

    That earns lots of respect in my book.

    A big mega church with a rock show? most likely would have called the cops and had them arrested.
     
  6. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #6
    At the risk of sounding nastier and more cynical that usual, you are heaping praise on someone who helped a couple of badly injured folks...something that many, if not most, might do. What is interesting is that you cite that as an act of such note that it was impressive to you.

    I just read what I wrote and it sounds much nastier than I intended...sorry.

    But if that is an argument for maintaining tax free status...it doesn't work for me. Especially since I am paying for these religious institutions to exist. In a small example...since none of the religious institutions in my town pay property tax, my property tax must make up for the taxes not paid by the religious institutions. While I don't care if the religious institutions exist or not, if they are to exist let them pay their own way without taxing me for their presence.
     
  7. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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  8. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #8
    I'm aware that people help others, but they typically don't put a shirt on their back,educate and feed them afterwards.

    My point was that at one of those huge 10,000 person rockshow churchs, where there is little bible reading done, and its mostly a rock show, jammed with coffee bars and gift shops, people like that would probably have been arrested or thrown out.

    That was just an interesting story, not a point.

    I agree with taxing those big rock show places that don't do much for anyone besides make money.

    However, small sub 400 person community churches that many times actually do lots of good for the community and do charitable acts, run soup kitchens and food banks?

    I say don't tax them, I couldn't care about 300 dollars a year in property taxes. Neither should you.
     
  9. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #9
    First, depending on the size of your town or city, the number of religious institutions may well add up to a good deal more than $300 on my taxes.

    Second, and to be as polite as possible, who are you to tell anyone what they "should" or should not care about. A bit arrogant...no?

    The issue is both the money itself, and the fact that while I don't care what people want to believe, that's their business...I resent paying for their places of gathering to celebrate those beliefs. If they want a church, or a synagogue, or whatever...fine, but let them pay for it.
     
  10. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #10
    That was just a random number, but unless there is a very dense amount of Church's in your area, I doubt it would cost you even 300 dollars in taxes due to them being there.

    Don't be polite, I'm very arrogant and not polite, at least in my professional life. It's how I became very successful.

    But the real point I'm making is, do you think you'd really save more than a pittance if Church's paid property taxes? Honestly I don't think it would.

    I'm not apologizing for Church's, and lots of them are mega church's that should be taxed, but lots of them are very good charity organizations that do good.

    The issue is the money, however I think thats not the SOLE issue in this case.

    I don't care if people want to believe in an invisible man in the sky either.

    And I'm trying to say, yes there are large megachurchs that are just money makers, they should be taxed.

    Hell, I even support taxing church's on a case by case basis after their evaluated. For Profit Churches should be taxed.

    The church membership does pay for, they pay for the building, parking lot, any extras, utilities, furnishings, and all that. They are NOT expect on paying taxes for those services.

    I don't know what the Churches in your area are like, but in my town ( a little north of new york city ), the vast majority of these Churchs are pretty small buildings, have memberships of less than 1000 members, and lots of them band together and run soup kitchens, homeless shelters, charity resale stores, ( kinda like goodwill ), schools, I think the Catholic church runs a large hospital down in the city that will not turn anyone away and is priced at a break even model, and if they can't pay. They won't be followed by debt collectors, drug rehab centers community cleanup projects, community improvement projects.

    All of this is typically done for charity, I think that gives lots of small community Churches a right for property tax exemption, because taxing them would hurt their ability to help those in need.

    And if these church members are out and about doing lots of good in their community for those less fortunate? They can sit in a room and talk about the invisable man all they want for an hour a week.
     
  11. steve knight Suspended

    steve knight

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    #11
    I thought the main reason is the separation of church and state?
     
  12. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #12
    I've seen plenty of small churches give to charity and help out the community. Most of those churches had pastors, reverends, and etc: driving the latest luxury car and living in a luxury home. Why should they pay any less tax(with the exception of income bracket) vs Trump, Warren and Gates who also give and help communities?
     
  13. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #13
    This is exactly why I said each church should be evaluated. I know lots of small local churches with pastors that only drive the foodbank fan, and give nearly all of their time to charity.

    However many don't, which is why each church should be evaluated to weather it is taxed a lot.

    And your right, those people do give huge amounts, however most of them give it through their own charities which are also tax exempt.
     
  14. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #14
    The topic comes up due to the number of churches that are there to generate a profit and those that are overtly involved in politics.
     
  15. Gutwrench macrumors 65816

    Gutwrench

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    #15
    But neither you nor anyone else did. In your practice you probably help people in profound ways and some of that help you are likely even unaware. Way to minimize what someone else did and the impact it had on another human being. Your'e one of my favorite contributers here and your apology is accepted.
     
  16. G51989, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013

    G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #16
    See that's one of that points I am trying to make.

    Are there churches that exist soley to further an agenda? Yes. Are there chures that are out to make profit? Yes.

    But I don't think we should punish small community churches that really do lots of good in their local community's just because of fake Churches built to generate profit.

    As an atheist I don't care about the man in the sky, but in my community there are small local church's who's pastors don;t live in luxury at all, and do lots of good for the surrounding areas, and they typically step up where no one else will.
     
  17. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #17
    It was not my intent to minimize the generous good deed described. My intent was to point out that, in the context of the post that I quoted, the laudatory actions of the priest did not justify the implication that it somehow justified the tax free status that religious institutions enjoy.

    It is certainly possible, even probable, that I expressed my disquietude in a clumsy manner.
     
  18. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #18
    I usually don't believe in "one sized fits all" type of laws or regulations. But in this case, it would seem like the best route to go.

    With evaluating every church, your going to end up with other churches and religions claiming bias. Also would evaluations be a one time thing, or periodically? Regardless, I doubt it would be investigators doing physical evaluations unless a whistle was blown, and I'm pretty sure a whistle is blown whether it's true or not at every church in existence. The IRS will end up needing a different department dedicated to this.

    Wouldn't make sense to waste hundreds of millions on a system, when churches will find loopholes around evaluations. Cause those things are already happening with current exempt policies.
     
  19. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #19
    Maybe, you are clearly missing the point where that parish, fed and clothed them afterwards, found them jobs and education, the vast amount of people in this country would never consider doing that. And would just say " not my problem, **** em. "

    ----------


    I agree with lots of this, I really do. However if we are to tax church's, some of them should somehow be able to be exempt.

    I'm not sure how it is in your part of the country, but I've witnessed some of the incredible deeds and services the small church's do for lots of needy people, the charity is pretty incredible. I'm an atheist and I've volunteered at my local catholic church just because of the incredible amount of charity they do.

    There must be a way to tax the bad churches and not tax the good ones, lots of them in my area at least do lots of good, and I would hate to take away 16% of that good.
     
  20. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

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    #20
    "Take away" - as if taxes are some sort of black hole. The government doesn't always spend responsibly (and that's been very clear over the past decade), but the whole point of taxes is to go back into providing services and developments for society. The reason you get a tax write-off for donations to charities is because the money is already going into improving society, you've just had a direct say as to what cause it's going to.

    The problem with trying to distinguish "good churches" from "bad churches" is that there's no infallibly fair method of going about it. Do you create a set of strict guidelines and rules? The "bad" churches with a lot of money and influence will be able to get around those rules, guaranteed. Do you hire people to make the distinction? Your staff are vulnerable to corruption and biases.

    Churches aside, most religious organizations started out dedicated to improving their communities and to helping people. Running largely on donations, they're practically charities. The "megachurches" and institutions like Scientology really warp that initial purpose. They operate more like businesses. While I'm sympathetic to wanting to tax those organizations, I don't like the idea of taxing the groups that remain faithful to the original purpose. Given the difficulties involved in being able to fairly distinguish between the two, I suppose I'd rather not tax them at all.
     
  21. AhmedFaisal, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  22. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #22
    I've often thought that we should take the German route and have the IRS collect the money from the parishioner and give it to the church. Such donations would be tax deductible up to a percentage of net income. Anything over and above that would not be deductible. Also, any property that is owned by a church must be used by the church and its parishioners a majority of the time. No income producing property, no rentals, etc.

    Name any mainstream church and ill guarantee that they have too much money and too much power when all they are supposed to be about is helping their members and providing charity.
     
  23. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #23
    Then there should be no taxes for anyone whatsoever. As some people have to pay for something they don't believe or want that someone else does.

    Why should someone have to pay for the military, police, medicaid, EPA, FDA, NASA, park service, education, science, arts and so forth if they don't believe in them?

    Why should other charitable groups get to remain tax exempt? While churches are singled out. I have to pay taxes while groups like PETA, planned parenthood, and AA get a free ride.

    It's not as if you'd be paying any less taxes if they did lose their tax exempt status anyways. You'd still be spending the same amount on taxes. All that would change is the government would have a lot more money to waste.
     
  24. iMikeT macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Agreed.

    If churches want to get involved in our secular politics, they should be taxed like the rest of us to do so.
     
  25. rdowns thread starter macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #25

    I'd be for a sliding scale of tax rates. The more the religious institution's money is used for charitable causes, the less the tax rate. Be one of those mega-churches that gives a small percentage for charitable causes, pay a high tax rate.
     

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