A recent study by the Secular Policy Institute revealed that US churches, mosques, synagogues (and all other tax exempt religious organizations) are costing tax payers heavily, and that may be an understatement.
Collectively, they are taking $71 billion in tax credits from the US tax payer. It breaks down as follows;
$35.3 billions in federal income tax subsidies
$26.2 billion in property tax credits
$6.1 billion in state income tax credits
$1.2 billion of parsonage
$2.2 billion in faith-based initiative subsidies.
According to the Institute, "If religious organizations (ie. churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) were taxed like for-profit agencies, it was found that this could generate upwards of $71 billion per year in tax revenue. Even if churches were merely held to the standards of other non-profit agencies, this could generate $16.75 billion in tax revenue per year. The report estimates for the total subsides enjoyed by religious organizations, but they do not account for tax credits like sales taxes, local sales and income taxes volunteer labor subsidy, and donor-tax exemptions.
The study goes on to report "the Mormon Church, for example, spends roughly .7% of its annual income on charity. Their study of 271 congregations found an average of 71% of revenues going to ‘operating expenses’…Compare this to the American Red Cross, which uses 92.1% of revenues for physical assistance and just 7.9% on operating expenses."
It stands to reason that, as a charitable organization, they could be entitled to the same exemptions but must be held to the same standards. Throwing huge chunks of millions into a pastor's home is not right.
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