The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of religiously-affiliated hospitals and healthcare organizations in holding that a pension plan need not be established by a church in order to qualify for ERISA’s church plan exemption. Petitioners are religiously affiliated non-profit healthcare organizations appealing decisions by the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal… Continue Reading
Introduction On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that directs the executive branch to limit its enforcement of the “Johnson Amendment.” As previously reported, the Johnson Amendment prohibits organizations that are exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code from engaging in political campaign activities.¹ The executive order limits enforcement of the… Continue Reading
While speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2017, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to repeal the law that restricts organizations that are tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) from engaging in political campaign activities. This law, enacted in 1954, is commonly known as the Johnson Amendment since… Continue Reading
When we last blogged about the “seemingly innocuous five line tax benefit” in Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code, a District Court judge in California was reviewing a complaint filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a nonprofit membership organization challenging this 90 year old provision.
Eight years after President Bush signed the new law on May 20, 2002, Judge Shubb of the Eastern District of California (on May 21, 2010) declined to dismiss the latest challenge to the parsonage exemption. A finding of unconstitutionality can cost clergy billions of dollars in tax over the next few years. This burden would likely be passed on to the religious institutions that employ clergy.
Parsonage is a seemingly innocuous five line tax benefit in the Code. This “innocent” provision of the Code, Section 107, appears to have befuddled many ministers and their professional advisors, however. About 90 years ago, Congress promulgated an exclusion from income for the rental value of the housing provided to a “minister of the gospel,”… Continue Reading