Monday, July 25, 2005

Guns and Alcohol Should be Tax Exempt too!

According to the Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, on the IRS' website:

"Congress has enacted special tax laws applicable to churches, religious organizations and ministers in recognition of their unique status in American society and of their rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States."

If religious organizations get tax exempt status based on their protection under the Constitution then guns and alcohol should be Tax Exempt too. What better way to celebrate our freedoms than getting drunk and shooting each other and then going to church the next day to repent.

Although my father was an IRS agent for over 25 years, Sec. 501c of the IRS tax code was not his specialty and he has no good answer as to why churches don't pay taxes and is as just as baffled as I am. So if anyone can help shed some light on this subject I would like to hear your educated view on the actual laws governing tax exempt organizations under the US tax code.

I always thought churches were tax exempt because most of them were "charitable organizations", or at least claimed to be. However, what I gather from the above statement is that because freedom of religion is protected under the constitution, the government doesn't have the right to interfere with its practice and finances. But, if Alcohol is protected under the 21st amendment, doesn't it stand to reason that it would be unconstitutional to tax alcohol, or guns for that matter since they are both protected under amendments in the Constitution? And while we are at it, Time, Newsweek and other forms media should not be taxed since they are also protected under the same amendment as religion. Unless of course a member of the press refuses to give up their source, then that is clearly not protected (<---sarcasm).

Why does one get special exemptions and the others don't? Are they saying that one amendment is more important than any other amendments? If so, who decided this? If not, why the special treatment for religious organizations and charities but not for other thing protected under the Constitution?

And as most people know, tax exempt religious or charitable organizations cannot condemn or support a candidate for political office. I guess that means Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, The NAACP, Westboro Baptist Church (Rev. Phelps), Ronnie Floyd and all the Southern Baptists and Focus on the Family should all start paying taxes.


Sandi said...

I think every church, no matter the denomination, should have to pay double taxes for 100 years, just to make up for governmental losses over the years. Maybe this country wouldn't be in such bad shape if they were to pay their fair share. I'm sure we could come up with a good way to spend the money. Health care for the poor, education for the stiffs in public schools, stem cell research, okay I just want the religious people to scream at me over that last one. HAHAHAHAHA Call me sadistic.

Nölff said...

I say if they want to go corporate let them go corporate. Let them pay twice the taxes and people can buy and sell stock in organized religion.

It would be a money maker.

Toad734 said...

Free market religion; I don't think I am going to be buying any shares of Islam any time soon. However with a few more hostile takeovers Christianity looks like it will have a long profitable future?

Ya I mean all those TV evangelists give all their money to the poor right? So if we just take their tax revenue and give it to the poor, it will be like we never even missed a beat, plus all the poor people will no longer have to listen to all those shitty sermons in order to get a hot meal.

Ryan said...

It is a strange progression as religion becomes more and more corporate.

Here in Jersey I have seen a number of churches setting up shop in the corpses of fallen industry and commerce busineses after they are closed down due to economic trouble.

One formerly used car dealership that closed down was bought by a baptist church- a huge piece of land with an endless parking lot wasteland.

Another site was formerly a "Big Lots" and a few other stores and a church came along and "purchased" the property to make a full "worship center".

Another one that really got me pissed wasn't previously anything before the church came along, but it was situated on a busy road in an area that could be considered commercially thriving. This thing is giant, about the size of a school or a small hospital.

In their vast parking lot they have about 20 vans all marked with the name of the church, presumably to cart the christians around to good god-loving bbqs and conferences, or to pick up pizzas at the local pizza parlor.

The last item I mention with particular enmity due to the fact that I work at the local pizza place. I used to deliver pizzas all the way out to this super church all the time before I refused to deliver to them anymore.

They would take advantage of their status as a church to get a half price discount on 20 or so pizzas, which I would lug to and from my car and to the location taking about 20 minutes each way.

Even then they wouldn't give even a dollar tip. When they didn't even tip me for my considerable trouble considering that they had already gotten a 50% discount, I refused to go back there again.

Well now they use what I assume to be tax exempt vans to come and pick the fucking pizzas up, and I give them the stink eye every time they come in.

Ill finish my thought a little later...

Toad734 said...

RE: Ryan

Convince your owner to put an offer on the lot, and open up a new pizza place, after all, a pizza place would generate more tax revenues and jobs for the community.

Ryan said...

Ha - I would love to seize their prescious church by some weird twist of fate, re eminent domain. Id buy up all the vans too and do something deviously unholy in them. Muhwoohaha!

Unfortunately I work for a corporate place that is already in the talking stages of becoming the official pizza of the Super Walmart outlets, one of which is moving into the property that used to occupy an entire shopping mall.

The only real way to get change though with the religious tax exempt status is for someone who can get to the public, around the influence (usually corporately rooted) of religion, to let the American people know exactly what this status costs America in taxes.

Present it like the religious right does the welfare reform movement - they are taking money out of your paycheck just by not paying their fair share in taxes, which are truely collected to benefit the society as a whole.

As far as when these organizations are doing some public good, like feeding or taking in the homeless, helping addicts or idiots or whatever in some way, the same rules for public schools should apply. No government money to support or excessively entangle the state with any one religion.

This can even be adopted into an economically driven commandment because if you support one you must support them all.

That would be very costly, and even though 2004 proved that people can be driven to the polls on fake morality, pure economics is the quickest cure for any whipped up morality trip.

By the way, I think that the tax exempt status is firmely rooted in the designation as non profit, along with mission statements of community service that allow these organizations to reap the benefits without paying their share. Anybody know?

Neemund said...

As a "Poor College Student" my weekly budget would stretch much further if I didn't have to pay taxes for guns or alcohol. But while we're at it, we might as well make rich people completely tax exempt since they obviously spend more money into our economy they're a greater benefit than poor, unemployed people, who should be paying more taxes to make up for the guns, and the booze, and the churches.

Toad734 said...

RE: Neemund

Because what dorm party is complete without a keg of beer and an ak-47.

Or you could say that poor people invest more like 99% of their wealth into the economy and rich people only put 40% of their wealth into the economy. It's like America and its charity; we give more than any other nation but give a lower percentage of our income to charity than any other industrialized nation besides Italy.

So who gives more; the guy with $10 that gives you a dollar or the guy with a million dollars who gives you $10?

If rich people put that much wealth into the economy I wouldn't have as much of a problem with their tax rates. The fact that people like the Waltons can inherit 19 billion dollars a piece just goes to show that they don't put this money into the economy as much as they should.

This is where the theory of forced trickle down economics comes into play, its a simple philosophy really; break rich peoples shit, so they have to go buy more, thus spreading their wealth with the people who make, service and sell these products.

Grant said...

Article one states Congress will also not keep people from peaceably assembling, which means my paycheck is off limits because there are a lot of us at the office and we generally get along. Those of you working from home are screwed because our founding fathers failed to protect the rights of telecommuters. But at least the guns and booze are safe.

NewsBlog 5000 said...

I understand your point, but there should be limits. That said, I still think that if you shoot or blow up someone for Jesus, you bullets/bombs should be tax exempt.

Son of Lilith said...

So anyone excercising the First Amendment is tax exempt, correct?


Writers, painters, artists, and musicians should be tax exempt.

Bloggers should be tax exempt.

The dude who says "Fuck you" as you bump into him at the exempt.

Come to think of it, EVERYONE is tax exempt if the only determining factor is practicing the rights you are guaranteed anyway.

Toad734 said...

RE Brandon

Thats what I have gathered from the IRS website.