Church Taxation : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Since his arrival in the district, Bishop James Davis has issued two communique from his episcopal desk. The first was meant to express his gratitude to Pastors for having participated in the meeting he convened on the week of his arrival and admonishing the clergy to work as he works, among others. The second communique relates to the new tax regulations which require churches and non-profit organisations to register with the Revenue Services on or before December 31, 2004.

Churches have always been exempted from paying taxes but the new regulations. There are two sides to this. One side is that government wants revenue and there is a believe that part of that revenue is in non-profit organisations (NPOs), or the public benefit organisations (PBOs). The other side is that government wants to deliver services to the needy in society but the institutions which can play the roles of delivery agents are not transperant enough to execute this role. govenrment funds or, for that matter, foreign funds, are not accounted for adequately. There is a lot of personal enrichment going on under the guise of being church.

With that in mind, I post on this board to solicit sharing of experiences with sisters and brothers in other countries as to how is taxation has affected churches. How have you found it to be?

Certainly, with Bishop Davis being who, not only he projects himself to be, but also what he has been in Big Bethel, the requirement of financial accountability by the state will surely advance his call and commitment for accountability in the district.

-- Anonymous, September 21, 2004


Parson Klaas -

Normally Federal and state tax law in the US will allow an exemption of property taxes provided the property is used specifically for religious use. The government will grant the exemption provided the religious organization does not deliberately engage in political activity. This is why I have been a long critic of the black church making endorsements from the pulpit because it puts our tax exempt status with the IRS at risk. Also, some "gray areas" exist when church property is used for quasi-commercial purposes yet churches insist on claiming the exemption, e.g. health & fitness center, bookstore or restaurant. Failure to comply with tax requirements under those scenarios can lead to tax avoidance and unnecessary legal problems. I would propose that you contact a Presiding Elder in any ot the Episcopal Districts 1-13 to get a better feel for this issue. QED

-- Anonymous, September 22, 2004

Thank you so much Bill for your response. There is a resonance in what you say with what is our new context.

In relation to the issue of the Presiding Elders, help understand this; does it mean that the Presiding Elders have a role in the matter relating to taxation. I am asking this because in us registering for taxation, some denominations have sought the option of something in the line of management taking responsibility instead of the local church directly doing so.

I will check with the Presiding Elders I may have contact with before. Thank you, once more.

-- Anonymous, September 27, 2004

I never read what I wrote until I read it already posted on the board.

Second paragraph should read, "...., help me understand this...."

First sentence of the last paragraph should read, "...... I may have had contact with before."

-- Anonymous, September 27, 2004

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