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Are Tax Deductions for Charity Robbing our Government Coffers?

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posted on May, 24 2012 @ 04:44 PM
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Don't know if I put this thread in the correct forum but I'm sure the mods will relocate it if I didn't.

A week or two back, I saw Bill Maher do this little piece, during the "New Rules" portion of his program. While I don't agree with everything that Bill Maher says, I have to admit that this segment really raises some questions with respect to what should be considered tax-deductable charitable giving and what should not. According to Maher, our government loses some 60 billion per yr. in revenues due to tax deductions for charitable giving and I wonder if it isn't time to reassess our tax code in this area.

Please don't misunderstand my meaning. I am not an advocate of eliminating all tax breaks for charitable giving, it's just that I am inclined to believe that, over the years, the definition of "charity" may have gotten a little misconstrued. I would be curious to see how some of you other ATSers feel about this topic.

I have to warn those of you who are unfamiliar with Bill Maher that his language can be a little rough, to say the least.

Anyway, here's the video;




posted on May, 24 2012 @ 05:01 PM
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No! The government is overspending and needs to stop. Charitable giving is a hallmark of our society. No other nation's citizens give as we do.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 05:14 PM
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Charity, like beauty, is defined through the eyes of the beholder.

I 100% disagree with what Maher says here.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 05:16 PM
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Originally posted by DarthMuerte
No! The government is overspending and needs to stop. Charitable giving is a hallmark of our society. No other nation's citizens give as we do.


Sure enough, but I think the real questions here are; "Who are we giving it to and is it really charity?" Should giving money to religious organizations who in turn spend those funds to influence legislation really be considered charity? What happened to separation of church & state?



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 05:40 PM
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Originally posted by Flatfish

Originally posted by DarthMuerte
No! The government is overspending and needs to stop. Charitable giving is a hallmark of our society. No other nation's citizens give as we do.


Sure enough, but I think the real questions here are; "Who are we giving it to and is it really charity?" Should giving money to religious organizations who in turn spend those funds to influence legislation really be considered charity? What happened to separation of church & state?
Separation of church and state is one reason why the government should not tax our gifts to our churches. IMO, Christian based charities do a much better job in providing help to those in need then do secular charities. That is my choice, I respect your choice to give as you see fit. The government needs to stay out of it either way.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 06:06 PM
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Originally posted by DarthMuerte
Separation of church and state is one reason why the government should not tax our gifts to our churches. IMO, Christian based charities do a much better job in providing help to those in need then do secular charities. That is my choice, I respect your choice to give as you see fit. The government needs to stay out of it either way.


While I agree with your sentiment with respect to separation of church & state, I have to ask you this; Should the church be allowed to spend those tax deductible donations on influencing legislation? Because that's exactly what Bill Maher said that the Mormon Church did in California. You know the old saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it too."



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 06:20 PM
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Originally posted by Flatfish

Originally posted by DarthMuerte
Separation of church and state is one reason why the government should not tax our gifts to our churches. IMO, Christian based charities do a much better job in providing help to those in need then do secular charities. That is my choice, I respect your choice to give as you see fit. The government needs to stay out of it either way.


While I agree with your sentiment with respect to separation of church & state, I have to ask you this; Should the church be allowed to spend those tax deductible donations on influencing legislation? Because that's exactly what Bill Maher said that the Mormon Church did in California. You know the old saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it too."
IIRC, even secular corporations can write off their lobbying "expenses". As long as that is true, leave the charities alone.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 06:35 PM
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Well

Hip Hip

Horrah for those who think we should give the government more money so they can go blow it!!

Really that's thinking with your head there Bill!



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 08:19 PM
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Originally posted by Flatfish
I have to ask you this; Should the church be allowed to spend those tax deductible donations on influencing legislation? Because that's exactly what Bill Maher said that the Mormon Church did in California. You know the old saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it too."


What is your question then: Is it "[A]re tax deductions for charity robbing our government coffers?" or is it "Should the church be allowed to spend those tax deductible donations on influencing legislation?"

To answer the first -- it is a "simple" no from me. While the tax code, in all it's glorious convolution does lend to some "questionable" charitable deductions, I suspect that it is a mere drop in the overall budget woes of in regards to tax receipts.

To answer the second, unfortunately, I must ask a question to it: Does the right to petition one's government only apply to certain persons? Groups? Is one's affiliation to a religious group preclude the First Amendment?



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 10:54 PM
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To answer your question no they aren't robbing our coffers. That being said Mr. Maher is correct we need to reevaluate what qualifies as charity. Tithing should not be considered charity, because it is not a charity it is an obligation to whatever church you belong to. However giving to religious charities such as Catholic Charities should retain their deductibility. Simply because members are not obligated to give to them.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 10:59 PM
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Lets see Mitt Romney donates his tax money to a charity that he runs? Then that charity donates $10,000 to Michael Bloombergs daughters horse riding club.


Its in his tax release.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:00 PM
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Originally posted by DarthMuerte

Separation of church and state is one reason why the government should not tax our gifts to our churches. IMO, Christian based charities do a much better job in providing help to those in need then do secular charities. That is my choice, I respect your choice to give as you see fit. The government needs to stay out of it either way.


This has got to be the worst logic ever applied to the separation of church and state i have ever seen. If it were truly separate then your tithing would and should be taxed as part of your income with no deduction. Not making it easier to and encouraging you to give it.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:17 PM
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In 1913 the so called "Personal Income Tax" was sold to the public in two ways. It was first sold as a "tax the rich" scheme, secondly sold as a way to pay off the national debt which at that time was hovering around 2 billion dollars. Today, after nearly a century of "income" taxation, it is still being sold as a "tax the rich scheme" and the national debt is over 15 trillion dollars...15 trillion dollars...$15 trillion....$15 trillion...

The biggest charity robbing the government (We the People) is the government!



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:27 PM
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reply to post by Flatfish
 





While I agree with your sentiment with respect to separation of church & state, I have to ask you this; Should the church be allowed to spend those tax deductible donations on influencing legislation? Because that's exactly what Bill Maher said that the Mormon Church did in California. You know the old saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it too."


Of course, anyone who has ever eaten cake knows full well they could not have eaten that cake if they did not have it first. So obviously one can have their cake and eat it too, and arguably this is the only reason to have cake. What one cannot do is eat their cake and have it to.

In terms of churches being "allowed" to spend their money on influencing legislation, everyone has the right to spend their money in this fashion and churches do too. Even further, the real question isn't really should churches be "allowed" to have a "tax deductible" status, the real question is what the hell were churches thinking in applying for such exemption? What in God's name ever made them liable to any applicable revenue law. If one is not liable to a legislation then one needs no exemption from it.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:28 PM
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Originally posted by JBA2848
Lets see Mitt Romney donates his tax money to a charity that he runs? Then that charity donates $10,000 to Michael Bloombergs daughters horse riding club.


Its in his tax release.


And this has to do with the topic how? Can we just for a moment discuss the topic and leave caustic and jabbing comments about politicians out of it for once? There is some correlation between what you said (just you didn't really say it) and the question; but your response is pure partisan dribble.

If you think Mitt Romney is the only abuser of the system then you are woefully blinded.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:33 PM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 


Its the very thing wrong with the tax deductions for charity that is robbing the government. It just hurt your feelings because who the example was.

Bloomberg.
Democratic Party (until 2001)
Republican Party (2001–2007)
Independent (2007–present)

Romney
Political party Republican

And if it makes you feel better it hit all three parties because of Bloomberg.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:33 PM
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Originally posted by Jean Paul Zodeaux
In terms of churches being "allowed" to spend their money on influencing legislation, everyone has the right to spend their money in this fashion and churches do too. Even further, the real question isn't really should churches be "allowed" to have a "tax deductible" status, the real question is what the hell were churches thinking in applying for such exemption? What in God's name ever made them liable to any applicable revenue law. If one is not liable to a legislation then one needs no exemption from it.




Couple what you say here Jean Paul with what I asked and that brings the whole of the picture. Does a religious group "lose" their Right to petition their Government after they ask that Government to recognize them as a religious group by filing for tax-exempt status?

And isn't asking for such permission go against the anti-establishment clause? The Government effectively dictates what is and what isn't a religious group through the nefarious and dastardly tax-code.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:38 PM
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Originally posted by JBA2848
Its the very thing wrong with the tax deductions for charity that is robbing the government. It just hurt your feelings because who the example was.


Ah, so you know my political leanings and affiliates? My likes and dislikes? You think I was coming to bat for Romney here?

While the tax-code does allow for these things to happen, it is a business that politicians have created to broker power into their hands. My point in reply to you was lets talk about if tax-deductions for charity rob the coffers.

While some tax dollars won't make it into their coffers, it is such a small drop in the bucket in regards to tax-receipts. This is of course looking at it from the government view in a vacuum. Most likely charitable contributions would fall under the table (or go unreported) or drop off like crazy if people get taxed for being generous.

Post Script:

The very use of the word rob implies that the Government is the owner of that money and we, as generous citizens are somehow depriving them of their funds. Until they can spend (and I mean ALL of them) responsibly and within the confines of valid governmental functions, they have no right to seek new taxes in this matter.
edit on 25-5-2012 by ownbestenemy because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 11:40 PM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 






And isn't asking for such permission go against the anti-establishment clause? The Government effectively dictates what is and what isn't a religious group through the nefarious and dastardly tax-code.


I have a few friends who are Scientologists, so it was inevitable that one would finally drag me into their church to see their propaganda film. I was taken to the Celebrity Centre which is a beautiful building which has its own theater. I sat there with my friend and no one else as they played the cheesiest film I had seen in ages. This film had actors I recognized and yet this film marked their worst performance ever. Anyway, at some point the narrator asks us: "Now, you might ask what makes us a bona-fide religion? Well..." and at this point the film cuts to an insert of an IRS document with yellow highlight over the words we hear the narrator speak: "...no less than the IRS has said that we are a bona-fide religion". I am paraphrasing but this is the jest of it. My jaw dropped to the floor. What the hell is that?



posted on May, 25 2012 @ 05:33 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


Which is why I posed the question in my first reply to the OP...what question are they really asking?

Is this a charity issue or a religious issue? The opening question was asked but when confronted the question changed to does a religious organization have the right to spend their tax deductible monies in accordance with how the government deems acceptable.

One could argue that by seeking IRS (and by extension the Government) blessing they are in fact a "religious" organization, they are subject to the whims of that Government.

I say all religious, cults (as Maher likes to refer them as), and other organizations say to hell with their tax-exempt status and conduct their religious business how they see fit under the First Amendment.




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