What would be so bad about churches being taxed in America?


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By way of information, in Australia, maybe 5 years ago, some government entity, perhaps the Australian Taxation Office which is the body that keeps an eye on who does and does not deserve a tax exemption, held an inquiry into whether donations made to the LDS church should be tax deductible. They concluded that donations to fast offering should be 100% tax deductible, but tithing should be only 75% tax deductible. I think they concluded that only about 75% of the church's expenditure relates to charitable purposes, as defined by the relevant legislation, so only 75% of its income received as donation should be tax deductible. 

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On 12/16/2016 at 0:55 PM, Zarahemla said:

Well how much is the LDS church worth? I'm sure it takes in billions from tithing every year and it owns City Creek Mall, other business ventures, and land.

The LDS Church itself is Tax Exempt.  Its business ventures - like the City Creek Mall - is not.  You'll need to differentiate the LDS Church from the LDS business ventures.  They are separate entities as far as the government and the IRS are concerned.

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Guest LiterateParakeet
7 hours ago, Zarahemla said:

The Salt Lake Tribune influenced me to make this thread and many threads but now I realize the Tribune is anti Mormon garbage.

Remember what I was telling you in the other thread about listening/reading from many different sources.  This is a great example.  Imagine if the Salt Lake Tribune was the ONLY paper you read. :(  

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I severely disagree with the ban on political activities for tax-exempt organizations like Churches and I severely disagree that Churches should be taxed for the following.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in the 1st Amendment stipulates that no law shall be made prohibiting the free exercise there-of. There is a reason why it is the very first section of the very first amendment. It is because freedom of religion supersedes freedom of speech-freedom of religion encompasses a world-view, it is in essence the freedom of thought and belief. We have a very perverse idea that religion only encompasses the "spiritual" and it doesn't; what good is the spiritual if it doesn't translate to the temporal.

The Founders understood this, the churches took an active role in promoting the Revolutionary War, in fact there were lots of comparisons to the 12 Tribes of Israel, people being called by God to split, it wasn't just a political revolution but also a religious revolution as well (Church of England??). Churches weren't tax just so they could espouse their political beliefs, their political beliefs were part of the religion!

This is also manifested in the early days of the Church and quite frankly one of the major reasons why there was so much persecution.  The locals weren't just afraid of Mormon's strange beliefs and mocked them for it-they were afraid of the political power that a large group of adherents to a foreign religion would wield b/c the Church and politics were very largely one and the same. The states up until the mid-1800s had official state religions.

It should be part of a religions freedom to speak as they see fit on the politics of the day-if people don't like politics the religion espouses then they can find another church.

By wedding tax exempt status to the restriction of religions to speak out is in effect restricting the 1st amendment.  Why? Well who sets the tax laws-the government. Sure a church could just get taxed and speak freely but then all the government needs to do to drive churches out of existence is simply tax more. So if the government didn't like the political talk of a religion or didn't like political talk from any religion-just tax them out of existence.

 As a side-note this is how hemp was banned.  A law was simply passed that levied a tax on it-it couldn't compete and was driven out of business.  

The power to tax is the power to reduce, diminish, and ultimately drive out of existence the influence of the thing that is taxed.

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On 12/16/2016 at 0:46 PM, Zarahemla said:

I mean all churches, not just the LDS church. Churches bring in billions of dollars every year and if they were taxed that money could really help the economy. The LDS church has billions of dollars and is not taxed, while I only have thousands of dollars and I'm taxed more than I can breathe. If the church was taxed, more tithing would not be required from the members, because 10 percent is a set amount. I honestly think it would be great for the American economy if all churches that brought in money were taxed. Also, it would allow the church to openly speak out about political issues finally.

When you tax a church, you are really double taxing the individuals who donate to the Church.  It also affects the First Amendment in two ways. First, freedom of religion is affected, because taxation reduces the ability for individuals to create churches due to the financial burden created by government. Imagine if Joseph Smith could not have created the LDS church, because he could not afford to pay the taxes required!  Second, it affects Freedom of Speech, as one's beliefs and speech are now taxable. 

The problem is too much government, not whether there is enough money. We collect Trillions of dollars annually in taxation, and yet it is not enough for bloated government. James Madison stated that except during war, the federal government should only be about 10 percent of all government!  Welfare, education, and most other things should be done on the local or state level, if done at all.  With the hundreds of billions the Fed has spent on education, for example, we have not improved overall education scores since the 1970s (when the Dept of Education began under Jimmy Carter).  We probably would have done better to leave education with the states and parents.

This is why I'm a Constitutional Libertarian. There's always an emotional reason for getting government involved. Yet, when Gov lifts up one end of the stick, it always lifts up the other end as well. Unintended consequences end up hurting more than helping. Imagine all the good that could occur, if people kept most of their money, and of their free will, could donate to the charities of their choosing, rather than the organizations of the Fed's choice.

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