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Old 09-08-2013, 07:56 AM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
10,202 posts, read 6,971,102 times
Reputation: 4549

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Churches in the United States get special treatment from the IRS. In most other countries all charities, whether they are churches or otherwise, are treated the same.

What possible reason could there exist for churches not to fully disclose their financial status?

Good article in Forbes here

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjre...y-by-churches/
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
17,071 posts, read 9,087,474 times
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Good article. Financial transparency is the appropriate answer to many problems with advantage taken of tax exemptions for religions and one that legitimate organizations should welcome. My local congregation makes annual disclosure and budget available for comment and approval by the membership and filing a form 990 should not be an additional burden.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:17 AM
 
28,900 posts, read 50,212,169 times
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My church fully discloses all its books. There is an open invitation at all times for any member to walk in and ask to see the ledger. Once a year, we have a parish meeting where the treasurer has to make a report as well.

Personally, I cannot imagine attending a church where this wasn't just part of how things operated. Who would?
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:23 AM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
10,202 posts, read 6,971,102 times
Reputation: 4549
Quote:
Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
Good article. Financial transparency is the appropriate answer to many problems with advantage taken of tax exemptions for religions and one that legitimate organizations should welcome. My local congregation makes annual disclosure and budget available for comment and approval by the membership and filing a form 990 should not be an additional burden.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
My church fully discloses all its books. There is an open invitation at all times for any member to walk in and ask to see the ledger. Once a year, we have a parish meeting where the treasurer has to make a report as well.

Personally, I cannot imagine attending a church where this wasn't just part of how things operated. Who would?
Both of you are referring to how the books are presented to members of your church. That is a great start.

What form 990 does is give the general public and ability to assess how to trouble finds are being spent.

All other charities are obligated to do this, why should Church's view them?
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:03 PM
 
3,593 posts, read 8,153,323 times
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Here's another article: The Unconstitutionality of the Parsonage Exemption - Forbes

I've been behind the curtains of more than one local church, this section of the tax code is abused more than you think. No great fan of the IRS, but really get upset to see church pastors that I used to respect take advantage of the pastor's housing allowance. It was offered to our family on more than one occasion and we turned it down.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:56 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,818 posts, read 3,135,477 times
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Yes, it should be like any other charity. No special exceptions.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
10,256 posts, read 9,409,326 times
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My guess is that there's no cry for it, because most protestant churches openly publish all their financials and report this at meetings. Our church even has the books audited by another group of members. Everyone knows the pastors salary, benefits cost, what we spend on utilities etc.
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