In my opinion churches have as much right to be exempt from tax as a charity. Yes I know church isn't a charity but it is non profit like one, also it would be unfair because the only money a church gets is from the donations from the members. If the church sold items then the items should be taxed but other than that it would be unfair for the members of the church to have a portion of their donated money given to the government. Plus it is completely different than a shop or buisness because it isn't one.
Yes it should. A church's purpose should not be to make money, but to build people's spiritual lives. I don't know if it qualifies to be called a charity, but it certainly shouldn't be considered a business. Charities and educational centers aren't taxed, and I think a church should be considered a learning area because people should be learning about religion.
Firstly, the supreme court ruled 8-1 to allow such tax exemptions, in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, in 1970. The comments being that these religious organizations support mental and moral improvement, benefit the community and its citizens. Further, all non-profit areas such as playgrounds, scientific organizations, hospitals, civil rights groups, etc. have this status.
First, for any non-profit group, the donations and expected contributions should be directed to the cause to which they were donated, and not the government. Actually, there are to few controls as to how such money is used, but the government taking yet more as overhead will not help this process.
Second, freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. Everyone has a right to hold their beliefs and worship as they wish, even, and especially, if it contradicts what may be popular. Taxes on religious organizations would limit smaller religious groups disproportionately, as well as groups supported more by less affluent members, violating first amendment rights.
Third, this does not result in discrimination, even as atheist or agnostic groups, as well as a wide variety of religious groups qualify for such exemptions. Actually, this is more of a protection of their right to assemble and worship without interference, as well as advocate any particular cause. This extends to non-profit groups on both sides of public moral issues, such as gay rights and abortion.
Forth, discriminating based on the beliefs, politically and religiously to provide such exemptions would then regulate what a group is allowed to believe or teach. One person mentions the idea of gay marriage, and homosexuality. If one's religious or personal beliefs state that such behavior is immoral, their opinion is as valid as those who believe it is not. As long as a group doesn't advocate violence or direct economic discrimination (jobs, housing etc.) their opposition to what they consider morally unacceptable should be allowed. In trying to silence voices on one side of debates such as gay rights, abortion, etc. or creating extra financial burden on such, you would violate their rights to practice and believe something, simply if it is unpopular. They have the right to believe what they will, and the first amendment exists specifically to protect those opinions which may not be socially popular.
I will concede, however, that government controls to ensure that donations are used properly, and as intended are often lacking, and clearer rules and regulations that fairly state how such funds may be used to combat abuse may be necessary, and should be comparable to any other non-profit.
The quality of a law can be discerned from the number of exceptions it has. A poorly crafted law has more exceptions. The same is true with the taxation system. It should be simple, fair and even handed. There should be no exceptions, with the load spread over all. Reducing the exceptions simplifies administration and contributes to a reduction in cost of running it.
If the church wants to have a tax exempt status then they have to be impartial and not discriminate in any way. This is not possible as most religions teach discrimination. The classic example is the homophobia (no to same sex marriage) embraced by most churches. Additionally, the church is not meant to be about politics (church state separation) so why then do we have ministers making political statements. The church needs to pay tax or become all inclusive if they want there tax exempt status. Until that happens, make them pay.
And is highly frowned upon by most governments, including our own. Here is why. In the United States, we value separation of church and state. By placing churches on a higher level than, say, your local walmart, the government is showing disregard for what our country was built apon... Freedom of religion. What about non-religious people, undecided people, and atheists, who do not attend a church? This is clearly a benefit to everyone but them. That would be like the government saying "We will give everyone social security benefits...EXCEPT YOU!"
On top of that, the government would lose valuable tax revenue. Remember how we are 16 trillion dollars in debt? Have you seen a pothole in the road lately? This money could easily go towards fixing these problems. It is simply an illogical choice for the US government.
It sells a service, just like any other business. Would it be fair if Nike stopped paying taxing on their profits because the CEO felt like he had a spiritual awakening, in which 'God' told him to sell shoes? The Bible talks only of a meeting place in which believers can congregate, not a multi-million dollar building. The Catholic Church launders multiple billions of dollars a year; so much for the meek inheriting the Earth...
They are still property in this country. Why should it be treated differently than a house, shop, fast food place, restaurant, or any other of the like? Name something that does not get taxed. The government needs money, especially considering the debt problem. It just doesn't make sense to me. Just my opinion though.