Southern Baptist Leaders Welcome Repeal of Tax on Churches

Photo by Art Toalson

Two Southern Baptist entity heads have greeted the repeal of a two-year-old tax on churches and other nonprofit organizations with gratitude.

President Trump signed into law Dec. 20 a spending bill that includes language rescinding a section of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that requires houses of worship and other nonprofits to pay a 21 percent tax on such employee benefits as parking and transportation. The Senate approved the legislation that included the repeal Dec. 19 in a bipartisan, 71-23 roll call. The House of Representatives passed the measure also in bipartisan fashion by a 297-120 vote Dec. 17.

If it had not been repealed, the provision — which took effect Jan. 1, 2018 — would have cost the charitable sector an estimated $1.7 billion in the next decade, according to opponents of the law. It also would have burdened churches and others with accounting and compliances costs not previously required.

Both the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and GuideStone Financial Resources had worked since 2018 as members of coalitions seeking to reverse the tax provision.

ERLC President Russell Moore said in a written statement, “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.”

Moore thanked House and Senate leaders, as well as other elected officials, who “worked hard on this issue. And I’m glad to see the President formalize this repeal with his signature.”

“In these contentious days, finding a bipartisan area of agreement in Congress is worth celebrating.”

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Source: Baptist Press