Tax-exempt status is a matter of local, state, and federal law - NOT a matter of church law.
Jesus said "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" - but never once did he dictate just which taxes Caesar could or could not levy.
On the other hand, it's important that a church have a clear idea of its mission, and whether that particular mission would be better served by having more funds available (due to being tax exempt) and enduring government restrictions, or by having fewer funds but being able to do whatever it wants. Some ministries clearly fall in the first category, while others clearly fall in the second. Most lie somewhere inbetween.
---StrongAxe on 8/19/09|
I want to address IRS exempts income to registered non-profit corporations including religious bodies registered under the code. But there are limitations put on the institution, they are prohibited from engaging in political activity to include statements made from the pulpit in favor of individuals or positions on issues. It is currently possible for a local church to jeopardize the tax statues for an entire denomination by actions taken by a local church. A religious body that loses it tax IRS exemption and contributions made to it by individuals are no longer deductible on their income tax returns. There has been federal legislation introduced to exempt statement made from the pulput but it has not gotten out of committee even to get a vote.
---Phil_the_Elder on 8/19/09|
The real churches will use their money to the benefit of people and the countries they are in, saving the government expenses, by using their money to help with what the government would need to spend money for. Also, the spiritual help of such churches will reduce crime and emotionally connected medical problems so the government has less medical and law enforcement expenses, etc.
---Bill_bila5659 on 8/18/09|
There's nothing "un-biblical" about a tax exemption for churches. The original idea was to encourage people to give to the churches and the charitable works they do. That was expected to lighten the load on government welfare.
Things have changed a lot, tho. People have become more squemish about anything that seems less than absolute separation of church and state. Churches are hampered from freedom to teach and preach as they desire.
It will only get worse if the goverment institutes such rediculous laws as "hate speech" laws. The so-called "wall of separation between church and state", inferred but not explicitly stated in the law, was intended to protect the church from intrusion by the state.
---Donna66 on 8/18/09|
Leslie - the question has nothing to do with your personal income tax deductions for charitable contributions. The question asked refers to the church paying taxes or being tax exempt.
It really gets down to separation of church and government. Problem is, in order to get the tax exemption, you have to deal with the government. It's a catch 22. Although the law says the church is tax exempt, the government will create a problem for any church that claims to be exempt but does not apply for the government exemption.
History shows that most countries have collected a "Christian tax" on top of the income tax, and that is what supported the church for hundreds of years.
---Gary on 8/18/09|
Since when has the US or State governments ever wondered if a law was "Biblical"?
Heck, many Christians on these blogs think the clear words of the Bible NEVER apply to them if these words keep them from doing what they wish.
---Cluny on 8/18/09|
Leslie brought up a thought. What about the tax deduction for charitable contributions?
If there was truly separation between the church and government, then we should NOT be getting a tax deduction for what we give to the church. In reality, the government, the taxpayers, are helping to support the church.
As far as giving without expecting a benefit - years ago I told my pastor that when I do my income tax return, I work out my taxes with and without the deduction for what I give to the church. The difference, the amount I save in taxes for the deduction, I turn around and give back to the church on top of what I normally give.
---Gary on 8/18/09|
The Bible does not say anything about this, however, we must base this question on Biblical morals. God told us to give to Him and others without expecting reward - your reward will be in Heaven. If we give just to get back (tithes and offerings, or even tax exemptions), we are doing it with an ungodly motive, and we already have our reward - so reward will not be in Heaven. We must give out of obedience, not wanting a reward (including tax exemptions).
---Leslie on 8/18/09|
If the state gives these excemptions, then it is legal, the bible never says that it is wrong to excempt someone from taxes, so one might say it is not condemned biblically. so what's the worry. (next to the fact that most governments see that as an excuse to mingle in church-affairs)
---andy3996 on 8/18/09|
Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him.
---stephen on 8/17/09|