WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 21, 2019—Lawmakers in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed and President Trump signed an appropriations package that included a repeal of the troubling tax on all nonprofits, including churches.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commented on this welcomed relief for churches and nonprofit organizations throughout the country.
“In these contentious days, finding a bipartisan area of agreement in Congress is worth celebrating. I am thankful that the House and the Senate did just that by repealing the parking lot tax on nonprofits and houses of worship in their appropriations bill. This repeal comes as a welcome relief for millions of Americans, lifting this burden from nonprofits and houses of worship around the country. Churches must never again be seen as untapped sources of government revenue. I am thankful that House and Senate leadership, along with many elected officials, worked hard on this issue. And I’m glad to see the President formalize this repeal with his signature.”
This relief for thousands of nonprofits and houses of worship, as well as the millions of Americans who they serve, comes two years after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought with it this small provision with such significant consequences. This effort to repeal the provision was a top priority of the ERLC policy team, and its success was the result of the collective advocacy of hundreds of groups representing an array of diverse faith communities and nonprofit organizations.
As a sign of the fundamental American recognition of the separation of the state’s authority from the church, the repeal of Section 512(a)(7) was overwhelming and bipartisan. The work to repeal grew over time in both chambers of Congress among members of both parties. Significant developments, in addition to this month’s inclusion in the appropriations packaged, included:
- The Lessening Impediments From Taxes (LIFT) for Charities Act was introduced in the House by Representatives Mark Walker (R–N.C.) and Tom Suozzi (D–N.Y.) and in the Senate by Senators James Lankford (R–Okla.) and Chris Coons (D–Del.).
- House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D–S.C.) authored a bill to repeal the tax, H.R. 6504 Stop the Tax Hike on Charities and Places of Worship Act.
- The House Ways and Means Committee included a repeal of the non-profit parking tax in Sec. 401 of Chairman Richard Neal’s Economic Mobility Act of 2019.