Monday, April 9, 2012

Churches: Time To Pay Up

Institutional religion and non-profit organizations receive billions of dollars each year tax free. This money or portions thereof have to be taxed.

Though the practice of taxation is out of hand in the USA right now, new sources of revenue have to be found to improve the situation. If a nominal federal tax rate of 5% of all revenue collected was taxed this would be a good place to begin reducing the monumental budget deficit that is now in place. States would have the opportunity to choose whether an incremental tax would be levied up to no more than an additional 5%.

One hallmark of American society is the freedom of religion and this is of course guaranteed within the Constitution. Freedom in this instance, seems to have come to mean complete freedom to operate from a formal obligation to the overall American way of life. Churches benefit from the taxation and infrastructure that the federal system provides so it is only fair that they should contribute financially.

Many would argue that religious institutions should be tax-exempt due to their civic contribution and non-profit status. The idea that non-profit organizations are tax exempt is ridiculous. I would suggest that any non-profit organization that has assets and/or paid employees should be taxed. Employees already pay income tax and volunteers would of course not pay due their lack of income.  Therefore, individual members of these institutions and organizations would not be affected at all.

Also, in order to encourage greater spending against community charitable efforts, any funds that are utilized directly as part of a community charitable effort would be 100% exempt from taxation thus lowering the institutions overall obligation. However, funds that are directed for operational expenses, payroll, marketing, fund-raising, assets and investments will be taxed.

The taxation does not have to be universal for every organization or religion. The expectation is that if a religious group or a non-profit organization holds property as part of their assets or has paid employees then taxation would be mandatory, though at the much reduced rate from private sector organizations.  Any organization that operates on a community level and has assets less than $50,000 and revenue less than $50,000 per year would not be taxed thus encouraging locally-minded and individual efforts.

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