By Sam Brunson
Yesterday, the House Committee on Appropriations reported H.R. 2995 to the House of Representatives. H.R. 2995, the Financial Services and General Government Oversight Appropriations Bill for FY 2017, if passed, would continue the trend of reducing the IRS’s budget, this time by $236 million.
It is undoubtedly worth looking at what exactly the bill does, but I’m interested in an amendment added yesterday by Rep. John Culberson (R-TX). Section 135 of the bill would make it even harder than it already is for the IRS to audit churches. Continue reading “Tying the IRS’s Hands. Even Tighter”
By: Sam Brunson
On Friday, Shu-Yi posted an overview of Puerto Rico’s financial problems, and described the centrality of the island’s tax regime to those problems. Today, I’m going to dig into one particular aspect of Puerto Rican taxation: tax-exempt churches.
Last year, the Puerto Rican Treasury department launched an ambitious pilot program[fn1] under which it planned on auditing more than 40 tax-exempt organizations. Juan Zaragoza, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Treasury, announced that this month the program moves to Phase 3: auditing churches.
As in the U.S., the Puerto Rican tax law exempts some nonprofit organizations from tax. Puerto Rican tax law explicitly exempts
Churches, church conventions or associations, as well as religious and apostolic organizations, including corporations and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.[fn2]
Some tax-exempt churches, Zaragoza asserted, aren’t really churches, but rather family businesses. They make annual profits, just like a shoe store (and yes, his example was a shoe store), but, because they claim to be tax-exempt churches, they don’t pay taxes on their profits. Continue reading “Church or Family Business? Puerto Rico Wants to Know”