Should U.S. churches have to pay taxes?
via AP

Should U.S. churches have to pay taxes?

#TaxChurchesNow
#DontTaxChurches
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The Trump administration announced houses of worship damaged during natural disasters will be able to receive funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some claim this rule change violates the separation of church and state, and if churches wish to receive federal funds, they ought to pay taxes like everyone else. Others argue religious institutions maintain tax-exempt status because they provide charitable services to their communities. What do you think? ⛪ 💸

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#TaxChurchesNow
73.2%
#DontTaxChurches
26.8%

The Trump administration announced that houses of worship damaged during natural disasters will now be allowed to use funds from FEMA to rebuild. The new rules are being challenged by some advocacy groups who argue this violates "the First Amendment's prohibition on the government establishing religion."

Houses of worship damaged during natural disasters will be able to rebuild using federal funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Trump administration announced this week, a shift traditional faith groups have been requesting from presidents for decades without success.

But many believe if churches wish to receive federal aid, they should have to pay taxes like everyone else.

HBO's Bill Maher gave a scathing monologue calling for religious institutions to be taxed, and asked why nonreligious taxpayers should have to subsidize religious institutions they don't benefit from.

There are 300,000 religious congregations in the country that pay “no tax, no federal, state, or local, no income, sales or property tax,” yet they own $600 billion in property.
And after pointing out that 22 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, Maher asked exactly why “almost a quarter of us are being forced to subsidize a myth that we’re not buying into. Why am I subsidizing their Sunday morning hobby?”

Many still argue churches should maintain their tax-exempt status because they function similarly to non-profit organizations.

Churches provide goods and services to communities... Thus, donations should be used for those goods and services, not to pay taxes. If donors knew some of their contributions were allocated to pay taxes instead of providing services, they may be less inclined to donate. Furthermore, these services vary greatly by church and by community, from building homes in underserved communities to providing food, clothing, educational scholarships and health care.

Others argue that all churches shouldn't be punished for the abuses of few, and smaller churches would be hurt the most if they lost their tax-exempt status.

As with any organization, larger is better. Big churches would have the resources to hire lawyers and accountants that would minimize their tax burden. Smaller churches that currently operate on shoestring budgets would face a relatively greater cost in order to comply with new regulations.
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