D H
Jul 2, 2018 · Last update 2 yr. ago.

Should religious groups enjoy tax exempt status?

Religious groups such as the Roman Catholic Church and Scientology enjoy tax free status in many countries, while amassing multi-million dollar fortunes around the world. Should this be allowed?
Stats of Viewpoints
Yes, in order to keep church and state separate
0 agrees
0 disagrees
No, and vows of poverty should be legally binding
0 agrees
0 disagrees
No, times have changed they should contribute to society or prove their NPO status
1 agrees
0 disagrees
Yes, they are in essence charitable organisations and intertwined with such organisations
0 agrees
0 disagrees
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Yes, in order to keep church and state separate

In countries such as the United States, it is against their constitution for any tax or state owned money to go to a religious group, so likewise they enjoy tax free status. The reasoning behind this is similarly the separation of church and state. However, this has lead to groups and associated individuals to profit massively from the situation. But the danger of religions jeopardising the separation of church and state matters and providing monetary support to political candidates to too worrying to change this situation.

In some countries, such as Germany, Finland and Iceland religious groups receive tax payments, deducted from taxpayers to fund their organisation, in order to facilitate the separation of church and state. Arguably this enables the state to exercise some control over religious groups and deters corrupt financing practices that seem common in countries such as the US. However it could be argued that state involvement infringes on religious freedom and threatens the separation of church and state, albeit from the position of the state negatively impacting the religion. Separation of church and state is important and this involves financial separation. washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2015/09/15/religious-tax-exemptions-protect-religious-freedom-we-should-keep-them/?utm_term=.d38d4a95dd06

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D H
Apr 9, 2019
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DH edited this paragraph
In countries such as the United States, it is against their constitution for any tax or state owned money to go to a religious group, so likewise they enjoy tax free status. The reasoning behind this is similarly the separation of church and state. However, this has lead to groups and associated individuals to profit massively from the situation. But the danger of religions jeopardising the separation of church and state matters and providing monetary support to political candidates to too worrying to change this situation.

No, and vows of poverty should be legally binding

Most religious workers (priests, monks, pastors, nuns) have taken a vow of poverty. Why do many modern religious groups end up with large assets and savings despite preaching against this? If these vows are taken seriously they would donate all excess money and put it into funding good causes. Religious groups amassing large sums of money should be illegal.

In other countries like Croatia the state funds the Roman Catholic Church, with a large payments and other benefits being agreed upon between the Croatian government and the Vatican, despite banks related to the Vatican being implicated in money laundering. These groups should have to keep track of all money donated and show that it is accounted for in either building up-keep or paying religious workers or outside contractors. Any extra money should be taxable as it stands as a profit, as this makes such a group a money making entity. thedailybeast.com/the-vaticans-dirty-money-problem

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D H
Apr 9, 2019
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DH edited this paragraph
Most religious workers (priests, monks, pastors, nuns) have taken a vow of poverty. Why do many modern religious groups end up with large assets and savings despite preaching against this? If these vows are taken seriously they would donate all excess money and put it into funding good causes. Religious groups amassing large sums of money should be illegal.

No, times have changed they should contribute to society or prove their NPO status

Churches should be taxed on money used as income and donations over a certain threshold. The laws currently in place are antiquated, and in a technological age where financial transactions can be more open and clear, questionable funding of a state by a religious group should be less of an issue. Furthermore modern religious groups such as Scientologists have links to for-profit organisations and have been the subject of long standing accusations of money laundering.

From data released by the US Federal Election Commission we can see that political contributions made by religious group have grown massively over the last 30 years. This amounted to multiple million dollar contributions over the last ten years. It can be of no coincidence then that this pattern mimics the bolstering of the “religious right” in American politics. But it could also be argued that religious lobbying groups may be responsible for the recent centre right shift of the Democrat Party also, as religious contributions remain high for both major US parties.

The justification for a religious group’s tax exempt status is to preserve any interference of the state in religious matters and vice versa. However in countries such as the US, where many religious organisations operate like large businesses, money is undermining this separation of church and state. Religious groups should be subject to harsher tax legislation and have to prove the non-profit nature of their own and any affiliated organisations. The clearer religious groups are with contributions and how they are spent, the easier it will be for them to fund-raise in a future cashless society. If they continue to influence politics and amass large amounts of money they will surely be the subject of harsher reforms or limits moving forward.

youtube.com/watch?v=0lMrFSQAh7I opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=W05 law.emory.edu/elj/content/volume-64/issue-4/articles/lobbying-shadows-religious-groups-legislative.html

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D H
Apr 9, 2019
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Churches should be taxed on money used as income and donations over a certain threshold. The laws currently in place are antiquated, and in a technological age where financial transactions can be more open and clear, questionable funding of a state by a religious group should be less of an issue. Furthermore modern religious groups such as Scientologists have links to for-profit organisations and have been the subject of long standing accusations of money laundering.

Yes, they are in essence charitable organisations and intertwined with such organisations

Religious groups deserve some money to be able to exist as these groups in essence rely on charitable donations, they should enjoy the same benefits as charitable organisations. It's not the fault of a particular religious group that their members may be extremely generous. Really it just shows that they are an effective religion if they are inspiring charitable actions in their own congregation.

Although laws vary in most countries religious groups fall into a category of a non-profit organisation along with some schools, charities, science and literary organisations, amongst others. Such organisations are not run as a business to make profits but a run for the greater good of a community, demographic or society as a whole. Taxing such groups would effectively be taking money away from the good cause they are dedicated to, and apply extra pressure to certain groups that may already face harsh financial pressures, for example some old churches need to maintain the sometime ancient buildings they are housed in. thebalancesmb.com/what-qualifies-a-nonprofit-for-tax-exemption-2501886

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Latest conversation
D H
Apr 9, 2019
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Although laws vary in most countries religious groups fall into a category of a non-profit organisation along with some schools, charities, science and literary organisations, amongst others. Such organisations are not run as a business to make profits but a run for the greater good of a community, demographic or society as a whole. Taxing such groups would effectively be taking money away from the good cause they are dedicated to, and apply extra pressure to certain groups that may already face harsh financial pressures, for example some old churches need to maintain the sometime ancient buildings they are housed in. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-qualifies-a-nonprofit-for-tax-exemption-2501886
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