The Kensho Agnostic (pure_agnostic) wrote in agnosticism,
The Kensho Agnostic
pure_agnostic
agnosticism

Taxing Religions

Religious organizations in the US get a free ride when it comes to paying taxes. Both directly and indirectly. (Red numbers indicate estimated amount lost to local, state, and federal governments in 2011. I don't have reliable estimates for entries without numbers.)
  • They don't pay federal income taxes. $35.3 billion lost.
  • They don't pay state income taxes. $6.1 billion lost.
  • In some states, they pay no property taxes. In other states, they get huge discounts on property taxes. (e.g. - They pay less than 10% what other businesses pay, and in Florida, they pay about 1/55th what other businesses pay.) $26.2 billion lost.
  • They don't pay investment taxes. $41 million lost.
Religious organizations also get tax subsidies.
  • Their donors get tax breaks.
  • In some states they don't pay sales taxes.
  • Related business income tax subsidy.
  • They get a parsonage subsidy. (Ministers, priests, rabbis, and reverends who live in parsonages get to deduct their living costs from their income tax - unlike other professions.) $1.2 billion lost.
  • Religious professions can opt out of the SECA tax.
They also receive taxpayer funds directly from the government.
  • They get money from President Bush's Faith Based Initiative which is still in effect.$2.2 billion lost.

All US taxpayers are funding religions to at least $71 billion per year - and perhaps well over $100 billion per year.

Last year, many state and local governments laid off teachers, fire fighters, and police officers because of budget shortfalls. If those states taxed religions as they tax other businesses, those states would have more funds. Religions benefit from police and fire protection, but they don't pay for those services as everyone else does.

Religions own over $600 billion dollars in US property. Isn't time for them to pay their fair share?
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