Why Not Tax Religions?

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posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:04 AM
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Why don't we tax religions? It's a pretty simple question. Now there are plenty of charities that aren't taxed, and that is fine. Religions do charity work however they also do other work in their own self interest. Check out the catholic church as an example. They have stupid amounts of money, in fact it's hard to estimate just how much as they have lpenty of ways of moving it around. So why don't we tax religions? In these hard economic times the income from taxing religious organisations would really help.

Having a belief system that includes god or an afterlife and setting up a corporation to promote it should not make you exempt from tax. That is all a religion is, a corporation. Think about it, why do you need a church to be a christian? Seriously now you could just hold god in your heart, believe in the bible, pray extra on Sundays and that would be enough. The same for Islam, Judhaism or any other religion that rakes in large amounts of money.

[edit on 4-6-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]




posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:14 AM
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I'd rather see the tax-exempt status be held up to all religions not just government recognized religions. By government recognizing a religion as such and hence validating said religion government is no longer holding true to this whole bit here:


"Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."


If it wants to be consistent and abide by its founding document then I should be able to claim myself a leader of a church and my home my temple and avoid taxation as a religious entity.

But then, when the hell has government been consistent or abided by the Constitution?

The little games and arbitrary exception they make on a whim render the government void IMO. If it werent for the storm troopers and the prisons I'd also say irrelevant but few things are more relevant than having your door kicked in at 3AM and being shot in the face in front of your children.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:20 AM
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Everyone needs to believe in something, I believe I will have another beer. Why do they tax beer??



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:27 AM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


Well this is the thing. What constitutes a religion? Why does it need a certain amount of followers to be called a religion? Simple fact is that a religion is a belief system held by a person. So either we should all be tax exempt or none of us should be, unless we are a charity because that has obvious logical benefits for people. I support the second option.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:27 AM
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Originally posted by wclv13
Why do they tax beer??


Because there are enough supporters in a segment of the population who believe you should be punished for drinking beer. The politicians profiting from the tax use them to push popular opinion enough so that you become the minority. Let the minority suffer for the majority. Let the minority pay the salaries of the shock troops.

Long story short, because you let them.

Order your supplies tax-free or buy them from a free state like NH and brew your own. The last thing the government needs is more money.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:34 AM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


I don't mean to be mean, but can we not turn this into a debate about taxes at large please. This is about the tax exempt status of religion, that makes no sense. Why should they be exempt just because they believe a guy sits on a cloud in a heaven?



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:35 AM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


This isn't the thread to debate the meaning of the Constitution, but I will kindly disagree with most of your statement.

If you'd like to fill out the proper paperwork, you can establish yourself as a tax-exempt entity. You will be required to keep books on everything. If it's worth it to you, do it.

Also, there are plenty of tax-exempt charities that have HUGE CASH in reserve in addition to paying their chairpeople, workers, and consultants big salaries.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:37 AM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Uh-oh. Your bias is showing. It sounds like you are starting to bash.

Do you really need another thread for that?

Maybe you were referring to Shinto gods?



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I wholeheartedly agree with you. What I mean is this, if a Church, or it's members, talk or push politics in any way, or, if they lobby in any way, or otherwise play in the political arena, they should be taxed like the rest of us. Pay for play, as it were. The churches around here look like a fortress, or a prison, and sit on the nicest ground in the county, all tax free.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:46 AM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I was actually agreeing with you. My religion is Hedonistic (ie I drink beer, among many other so called vices)

Hear Hear, tis my Religion. My Church is the local bar I hang out at, why are they taxed? Why can't I claim the money I donate to them as tithing thus not be taxed?



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by autowrench
 


Actually, churches of any religion run the risk of losing their tax exempt status if they push politics from the pulpit (or stage :lol
.

It mostly never happens because complaints are not lodged and investigations don't happen.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:03 AM
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I think there are two fundamental reasons why Religious Organizations are granted Tax Exempt Status in the United States.

1.) Religions are generally either Not-For-Profit or Non-Profit organizations. In cases like The Church of Scientology, this is clearly not the case. Nor is it generally the case in Charismatic Churches where God told the Reverend that he needed 16 BMWs, 5 mansions, and a yacht to perform his saintly mission on earth. Even in the case of Non-Denominational Christian Churches that find a need to own majority market share of TV & Radio stations in their region, in addition to building dozens of multi-million dollar "Retreat Centers". Let us not forget the more fringe groups like The Summit Lighthouse Church that sees fit to spend the money they gain on building Fallout Shelters and amassing large arsenals of guns. However, you cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater or toss the entire batch of apples because of a few bad ones. As long as the majority of religions apply their revenue from parishioners to Cost of Operations and use the excess to support charities, then this Tax Exempt Status should remain intact for all Religious Groups, even those that clearly abuse the privilege.

2.) Separation of Church and State, plain and simple. Do you think it would be right for Government (or the I.R.S. specifically) monitoring the sources of Religious revenues? It would be horrifically invasive if the I.R.S. kept lists of what people were giving money to what religious institutions, and that is precisely what would have to happen if Religious Organizations did not have Tax Exempt Status. If the State decided that the Moonies, for example, needed to persecuted, they could just review I.R.S. records to get a round-up list of all Moonies, or those sympathetic to the Church of Reverend Moon, and arrest them. One only need look at the Holocaust of the last Century to see what happens when the government is able to identify the membership of a particular Religion. In order for there to be absolute Freedom of Religion, which is a protected right of our Constitution, then there has to be anonymity in Religious Belief/Affiliation.

And as far as what constitutes a Religious Organization, that's not really for the I.R.S. or Government to decide. To obtain Federal 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Status, it is really simple and basic. All you need are three people to sign the paperwork and file a basic tenets of belief and organizational structure. Because of this, there are Religious Organizations of every persuasion, some bordering the ridiculous, but that is their right. It's not for any one of us to deny the right to pursue any one group's religious beliefs just because it doesn't seem like a very good Religion to us. Hey, the Church of the Subgenius is pretty far out there, but they deserve the same rights as everyone else.


(Also, revenue that is gained by Religious Organizations from non-related business *IS* taxable by the I.R.S. Tax Exempt Status only pertains to revenue from donations by parishioners or from Church-related fund-raisers such as bake sales and car washes. If the Church opens a Printing Business or a Web Design Business or operates a Commercial Radio Station, then the revenue that is gained by those business are taxable, just like everybody else.)



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:12 AM
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Well to do that you'd have to do away with all not for profit 501 3c groups... but that might not be such a bad idea... Here United Blood Services a local blood collection this takes whole blood donation then turns right around and sells that blood to the local hospitals clinics and even labs that need whole blood... they rake in millions pay out nothing even their director makes a six digit salary...

Look at AARP they got money to lobby politicians they should have some left over to pay taxes too right...

then of course you have the late great Jerry Falwell inventor of the term "Megachurch" or Pastor Joel Osteen who took Megachurch to a whole new level when they remodeled the Compaq Center, former home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets... its a guess but Businessweek back in 2005 claimed they were bringing in about 55 million a year... surely they could take a small bite of our nations tax burden...



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:12 AM
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sorry double post... darn IE8 acting up again

[edit on 4-6-2009 by DaddyBare]



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:27 AM
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This effect is what we Americans need a different sort of tax system. The Fair Tax is a good example of this. A consumer tax would prevent anyone from avoiding the tax for reasons churches often use, and even the president of the U.S. would have to pay the tax whenever he/she bought something. I would any if this were the case, in just a few short years everyone would have paid off their debt, and the coffers of the Treasury would again be full. The current income tax is illegal, and it is a burden that every American worker has to bear.
www.fairtax.org...



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by WickettheRabbit
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Uh-oh. Your bias is showing. It sounds like you are starting to bash.

Do you really need another thread for that?

Maybe you were referring to Shinto gods?


My bias isn't there at all, i include every and all tax exempt religion. My comment about the cloud was slight comedy, sorry it that upsets you.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:31 AM
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Originally posted by WickettheRabbit
reply to post by autowrench
 


Actually, churches of any religion run the risk of losing their tax exempt status if they push politics from the pulpit (or stage :lol
.

It mostly never happens because complaints are not lodged and investigations don't happen.


This is a completely false statement. Many religions involve themselves in politics very often. From the pro choice and pro life argument to the comments on the middle east by the church or england. Your stance has no merit because religions comment on politics very often.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by fraterormus
I think there are two fundamental reasons why Religious Organizations are granted Tax Exempt Status in the United States.

1.) Religions are generally either Not-For-Profit or Non-Profit organizations. In cases like The Church of Scientology, this is clearly not the case. Nor is it generally the case in Charismatic Churches where God told the Reverend that he needed 16 BMWs, 5 mansions, and a yacht to perform his saintly mission on earth. Even in the case of Non-Denominational Christian Churches that find a need to own majority market share of TV & Radio stations in their region, in addition to building dozens of multi-million dollar "Retreat Centers". Let us not forget the more fringe groups like The Summit Lighthouse Church that sees fit to spend the money they gain on building Fallout Shelters and amassing large arsenals of guns. However, you cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater or toss the entire batch of apples because of a few bad ones. As long as the majority of religions apply their revenue from parishioners to Cost of Operations and use the excess to support charities, then this Tax Exempt Status should remain intact for all Religious Groups, even those that clearly abuse the privilege.


Why? So they can use their funds for upkeep of their buildings and the excess for charity? Well forgive me but i think they do not need exempt status for the upkeep on their organisation. Corporations don't have this status so why should religion? If they can't make enough for upkeep then obviously people don't believe enough. More importantly i again state why do they need buildings in the first place, religiion is supposed to be in the individual, not the building of worship.


Originally posted by fraterormus
2.) Separation of Church and State, plain and simple. Do you think it would be right for Government (or the I.R.S. specifically) monitoring the sources of Religious revenues?


They monitor the revenue of corporations and individuals so why not?



Originally posted by fraterormus
And as far as what constitutes a Religious Organization, that's not really for the I.R.S. or Government to decide.


But they do decide it. If they do not then i can start a religion right now, that includes only myself and be tax exempt now can't i. I'm not a US citizen but the same applies to every country in this case.


Originally posted by fraterormus
(Also, revenue that is gained by Religious Organizations from non-related business *IS* taxable by the I.R.S. Tax Exempt Status only pertains to revenue from donations by parishioners or from Church-related fund-raisers such as bake sales and car washes. If the Church opens a Printing Business or a Web Design Business or operates a Commercial Radio Station, then the revenue that is gained by those business are taxable, just like everybody else.)


Absolutely but donations make a great deal and the ways around the other donations are easy to do. If you think the mafia are good at money laundering you should see the churches. I would love an audit of the catholic church, i pick on them simply because they seem to have the greatest money per paritioner.

Sorry for multiple posts, my broswer is having a hissy fit.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984

Originally posted by WickettheRabbit
reply to post by autowrench
 


Actually, churches of any religion run the risk of losing their tax exempt status if they push politics from the pulpit (or stage :lol
.

It mostly never happens because complaints are not lodged and investigations don't happen.


This is a completely false statement. Many religions involve themselves in politics very often. From the pro choice and pro life argument to the comments on the middle east by the church or england. Your stance has no merit because religions comment on politics very often.


That is why he wrote that last sentance. If you stop jumping on every little thing and actually read a post you would have seen that.

Reread, apply reading comprehenstion, post again and apologize for not doing this in the first place.



posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:48 AM
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Originally posted by jd140

That is why he wrote that last sentance. If you stop jumping on every little thing and actually read a post you would have seen that.

Reread, apply reading comprehenstion, post again and apologize for not doing this in the first place.


I read it quite well, investigations don't happen because religions are protected. Or maybe you see it differently.





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