Taxing Religion

Good Morning,
As I continue to read and learn I have come across several interesting questions, this is the first. Let me know your opinions.
Should churches/religious organizations pay taxes?
Easy question and (I think) an easy answer, yes.
Why should a “minister/priest” be paid six figure salaries for service to a god, when I work hard and struggle to pay each bill? If taxes are supposed to be for the public benefit, should churches not be expected to do their part? Are churches not supposed to help the community? I understand some churches are not financially strong but some are, I.e. the Catholic Church.
I understand it is a lot more complicated but everyone’s thought are appreciated!
-JB

Should churches/religious organizations pay taxes?
Absolutely yes.

IMO, churches should be taxed the same as other non-profits.
BTW Ministers income is taxed as wages or seld employed income in the US. Before I retired I was a customer service rep. with the IRS. It was always a laugh when a minister (or more likely his wife) called in and tried to opt out of social security (which is allowed based upon religious belief). Most of these cats were working as minister as a second job. They “changed their beliefs” when they found out that opting out meant that they couldn’t collect benefits based upon their first job’s income. :lol:

IMO the “leaders” of mega churches and televangelists should be taxed. These people generate millions in revenue and live luxurious lives with all the percs. Many also dabble in politics which is yet another reason to strip them of their exemptions. in short, they don’t represent the religion they tout and should be considered what they really are, corporations, e.g. Scientology.
Cap’t Jack

The initial argument was based on the separation of church and state. Since the “power to tax is the power to destroy”, the government could tax some but not other sects, thus giving some a major advantage. However, I do agree that uniform taxation of all churches (especially progressive) is something I’d like to see.
Occam
I meant tax, not religion. :slight_smile:
edited to clarify.

Yes, all churches should be taxed out of existence.
If a religious organization/institution cannot support itself, then it shouldn’t be propped up by government help - or any outside help.

Yes, all churches should be taxed out of existence.
'Fraid it wouldn't work. In fact, if history is any indication, it would backfire. Christianity hung on for centuries practically as an outlawed sect before becoming the state religion of Rome. Banning it didn't kill it. It just drove the movement underground where over time, it gained strength. Pretty much the same problem applies with taxing them: It won't kill it. It'll just drive it underground.

Religion’s properties should absolutely be taxed as any other business. Religion is a business. Those who teach mythology as truth and beg for contributions should be charged with fraud as well.
So often, a church’s property is on a main street, sometimes a whole block of prime property. Most churches are not even used the minimal forty hours per week of other businesses, but may operate only a matter of hours per week. What a total waste of real estate, and to be afforded a tax-free status is such a slap in the face to the other businesses. This definitely causes the taxes of others to be higher.
Yes, but it will never change.

Yes, all churches should be taxed out of existence.
'Fraid it wouldn't work. In fact, if history is any indication, it would backfire. Christianity hung on for centuries practically as an outlawed sect before becoming the state religion of Rome. Banning it didn't kill it. It just drove the movement underground where over time, it gained strength. Pretty much the same problem applies with taxing them: It won't kill it. It'll just drive it underground.
True, but I was just speaking of the concept of taxes supporting religious institutions. Not necessarily trying to exterminate the religions.
True, but I was just speaking of the concept of taxes supporting religious institutions.
Yeah, but what you said was "Yes, all churches should be taxed out of existence." which has a very different meaning. Not that I disagree with either concept. I just know that the first approach won't work. Historically, religions seems to thrive best in the face of the worst sort of persecutions. (That martyr complex is great for drawing recruits!) As to your idea as clearified, I'm as four square against religious institutions receiving support from the public till as I have no doubt you are. Hell's bells, there are charities and non-profits which do medical research disaster assistance and relief and even historical preservation which are worthy of support and they have to beg for money. I don't see any reason why religion should get a pass and I can't understand why their "boss" (A supposedly omnipotant being) would need anything as pedestrian as money.

Isn’t there a steady decline in church attendance and membership each decade & generation in just about all industrialized nations? With these declines, I wonder how many churches still exist. I also wonder what the picture is going to look like in 10, 30, 50 years. I am 26, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out over my life time.

Isn't there a steady decline in church attendance and membership each decade & generation in just about all industrialized nations? With these declines, I wonder how many churches still exist. I also wonder what the picture is going to look like in 10, 30, 50 years. I am 26, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out over my life time.
I don't what it'll look like in fifty years, but "my" church in Toronto is being rented out to Muslims.
Isn't there a steady decline in church attendance and membership each decade & generation in just about all industrialized nations? With these declines, I wonder how many churches still exist. I also wonder what the picture is going to look like in 10, 30, 50 years. I am 26, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out over my life time.
I don't what it'll look like in fifty years, but "my" church in Toronto is being rented out to Muslims. I haven't seen that yet in my area. But I wonder how the mega churches with huge building and maintenance and staff costs sustain, along with small country churches with just a few members.
Good Morning, As I continue to read and learn I have come across several interesting questions, this is the first. Let me know your opinions. Should churches/religious organizations pay taxes? Easy question and (I think) an easy answer, yes. Why should a "minister/priest" be paid six figure salaries for service to a god, when I work hard and struggle to pay each bill? If taxes are supposed to be for the public benefit, should churches not be expected to do their part? Are churches not supposed to help the community? I understand some churches are not financially strong but some are, I.e. the Catholic Church. I understand it is a lot more complicated but everyone's thought are appreciated! -JB
Of course they should be taxed and I'd take away the contradictory non profit status from most of them. But neither will ever be passed in this country. No politician would touch these ideas with a barge pole. Lois

Churches own millions of dollars in untaxed property that could be used by the states but most people aren’t even aware of it. The estimation nationwide is $300 to $500 billion. And apparently if they were taxed it might cause their collapse as maintaining the mega churches would take more than the pledge money they haul in from their parishioners. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depends on what side of the pew you’re on) the sanctimonious among us won’t allow that to happen any time soon. Here’s some pros and cons just for kicks and giggles:
http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org/
Cap’t Jack

In California church property including the churches themselves are subject to Real Estate Tax. The church building itself gets some sort of exemption, but they still pay a fair amount of tax.
Occam

In California church property including the churches themselves are subject to Real Estate Tax. The church building itself gets some sort of exemption, but they still pay a fair amount of tax. Occam
Wouldn't this status then put them in some sort of political no-man's land? If they pay taxes could they then legitimately become involved in the political arena? You know, Shuler's crystal palace? I know it's bankrupt now but prior to that. Cap't Jack

I don’t know how they structure it, but I think they don’t tax the religious factors, i.e… the church itself, but just ancillary buildings. Possibly you’re right that they could support political candidates and causes, just not done in the sanctuary. Let’s not tell them. :lol:
But they can rent out the church for weddings and other meetings. The local Democratic club often rents the Unitarian church if they have a program that will attract more people than the library meeting room will hold. I’m pretty sure the UUs declare that as income and pay tax on it.
Occam

Driving through Buffalo I see monstrous RC churches with many buildings, now vacant. Others close to shutting down but maybe staying open a couple hours a week to avoid the tax status change that occurs when they close.
If paying the same tax as other businesses would cause them to close, so be it.
I do not think any of these defunct properties will ever sell for their “book value.” Some could be turned into mini-Disneylands, complete with actors dressed as religious fantasy characters.
Should not the heading of this thread be “Taxing church properties”?

In California church property including the churches themselves are subject to Real Estate Tax. The church building itself gets some sort of exemption, but they still pay a fair amount of tax. Occam
But not nearly enough. They're getting far more than they're paying for, and in a country that claims to have separation of church and state, it's outright hypocrisy.