Tax on churches looms, ERLC coalition urges repeal

An unprecedented tax faces churches and religious organizations beginning Jan. 1 for such matters as parking by staff members.
BP file photo by Art Toalston

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in Baptist Press in November 2018:  Ali Cente

“WASHINGTON (BP) — A diverse coalition led by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has urged members of Congress to repeal a section of a federal law that could force churches to file tax returns for the first time in American history.

The ERLC — joined by 32 other organizations — sent a letter Nov. 13 to leaders of two congressional committees and some other members of Congress asking them to rescind before 2019 a provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect Jan. 1 of this year.

Without repeal, the cost to the charitable sector would be a congressionally estimated $1.7 billion over 10 years, the religious groups and nonprofit organizations said in the letter.

The provision — Section 512(a)(7) — requires houses of worship and non-profits to pay a 21 percent tax on such employee benefits as parking and transportation. The measure not only imposes a new tax hardship on churches and nonprofits but imposes on them “burdensome accounting and regulatory compliance costs,” according to the ERLC-led letter.

In addition to Moore, the letter’s signers included Leith Anderson, president, National Association of Evangelicals; Daniel DiNardo, archbishop, Galveston-Houston, and president, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Erik Stanley, senior counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom; David Nammo, chief executive officer (CEO), Christian Legal Society; Jerry Johnson, president, National Religious Broadcasters; Dan Busby, president, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability; Shirley Hoogstra, president, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Donna Markham, president, Catholic Charities USA; Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; Anwar Khan, president, Islamic Relief USA; Gerald Causse, presiding bishop, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Jerry Silverman, CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America; and Michael Smith, president, Home School Legal Defense Association.

The coalition addressed the letter to Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Finance Committee, and Reps. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Ways and Means Committee.”

Read the full post on Baptist Press

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