NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 13, 2018—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention delivered a coalition letter to members of the U.S. Congress today calling for the repeal of a new tax on churches and nonprofits, which will extract $1.7 billion in taxes from the charitable sector over 10 years. This provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Internal Revenue Code Section 512(a)(7) imposes a new tax on all non-profits and will require many houses of worship to file tax returns for the first time.
Over 30 organizations signed this letter, demonstrating their support for repealing this section. Signatures came from leaders of diverse faith backgrounds and a broad range of institutions, including houses of worship, primary and secondary education, higher education and faith-based nonprofit organizations serving communities around the country and around the world.
The letter states, “This significant change in the treatment of charitable organizations will require many nonprofit organizations to file federal Form 990-T and pay federal taxes on the cost of parking and transit benefits provided to their staff.”
“Whatever purpose Section 512(a)(7) was intended to serve cannot justify extracting $1.7 billion in taxes from nonprofits and houses of worship within just 10 years.”
ERLC President, Russell Moore, responds to this tax code provision.
“Churches ought not be seen by the government as untapped sources of tax revenue. While the effect this section of the tax code may very well have been unintended, it must be remedied. As the American founders clearly understood, the power to tax is the power to destroy. The proper separation of the state from the church is at the heart of our American project. This section of the tax code, however, blurs those lines in harmful ways."
In addition to Moore, other notable signatories include:
- Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Jerry Silverman, CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America
- Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
- Nathan Diament, Executive Director for Public Policy, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
- His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Letter signatories urge Congress to take action before the end of the year by repealing Section 512(a)(7) of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The letter and full list of signatories is available here.