Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984
reply to post by fraterormus
Your USA law is interesting, i wonder why then more people haven't undergone this little change to avoid taxes? Maybe because they would be refused?
I'm not sure, please give a good reason why they haven't. My original point however still stands. Why are religions tax exempt?
Besides the two reasons I mentioned in my initial (first) post...here is another very good reason...
Almost all US law is based on Tort (just like in the UK where we borrowed the idea from), that being the upholding or violation of a law is based on
the monetary value or damages. Crimes are determined by whether monetarily assessable damage to either property or person has been committed (did the
victim have medical costs due to the incident, or did something have to be repaired?). It is not a crime to offend someone with harsh words or
criticism, however if the victim can prove monetary damages, then it becomes Slander or Harassment. The same with the enacting of Laws. Laws are made
to protect property or person from monetarily assessable damage or harm.
Taxation is no different in the US.
The US government taxes goods and services that have an assessable monetary value. I work for an employer, so I provide that employer a service that
is worth $X dollars. Therefore, I can be taxed on a percentage of that value. Likewise, my employer sells the product which I have made for him for $X
dollars, so he therefore can be taxed on a percentage of the value of that product. I own a house that is assessed at $X value, therefore I can be
taxed on a percentage of that assessed value.
How can you assign a monetary value to spirituality?
What is the going rate of religious belief? It's not listed as a commodity on NASDAQ. Is there an open market where this service is valued in
comparison with other beliefs? What is it's resell value? At what rate does it depreciate in monetary value? It is not something physical, and
therefore something that Tort applies to.
This is what we call an "intangible" service.
We are not taxed, in the US at any rate, every time money exchanges hands, contrary to popular belief. Instead, we are taxed by reason that there is
an assessable monetary value of the goods or services that we are providing/purchasing. When something has no monetary value, then the exchanging of
currency is considered a donation as it has no value. It is therefore Tax Exempt.
Sure, you could make "intangible" things like spirituality be taxable, even though they have no real market value, but you would be treading in
dangerous waters by doing so. What other intangible things do you tax? Do you tax Sex between lovers? Do you tax Thoughts when someone reads a book or
watches a movie or partakes in a forum? Do you tax children that use their Imagination to play make-believe store? Ridiculous, don't you think? Why
would taxing Religion be any different?
(Actually, the US Congress is debating on this issue right now in concerns with Virtual Property in MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, Online Video
Games, and Virtual Worlds like Second-Life, and whether it should be taxable or not...and they are having to discuss the same issue of intangibility
and no real market value.)
Sure, people are upset when Religions try to use Tax Exempt Status as a Tax Shelter. I'm not arguing that they shouldn't be. However, there are
already regulations in place to prevent this, and in the U.S. at least the penalties are a stiff maximum of $250,000 per item through the IRS alone,
plus possible criminal prosecution from the Justice Department. Just because Religious Organizations are Tax Exempt from basic Revenue sources through
donations and sometimes even Property Tax, doesn't mean that they are exempt from Taxes entirely nor are they exempt from Tax Fraud.