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Tax Exempt Status

Mon, Oct. 03, 2016 Posted: 11:09 PM


Have you noticed how churches have been in the cross-hairs for their tax exempt status? Loud voices are clambering for changes to the Internal Revenue Code regarding tax-deductible donations to churches—and that churches pay tax on what’s in its collection plate.

It’s important to analyze the data, and recently Dr. Brian Grim of Georgetown University did just that.

What he discovered is that 344,000 churches have contributed $378 billion directly into the economy.

For comparison, he noted that Apple, Google, and Facebook combined haven’t done that.

Here’s how churches have spent those donations:

  • Over 100,000 alcohol and drug abuse programs
  • Nearly 95,000 programs for US veterans and their families
  • Over 25,000 programs for AIDS/HIV support, prevention, and awareness
  • Nearly 125,000 programs offering job training skills

Programs serving the health care needs of Americans contribute millions of dollars, employ thousands, and impact many. The Catholic hospital system contributes a vast amount to the national economy.

At a time when faith-based organizations are increasingly scrutinized and Christian organizations are being mocked, it should be noted that nearly half of the American population are involved in some organized religion with the average church collecting $242,000 per year. Even in economic downturns, the church has been resilient—with giving actually increasing three-fold since 2008, when the Great Recession was beginning.

Besides donating to these diverse programs, untold millions of parishioners contribute thousands of volunteer hours, literally changing the lives of those in the communities where they live.

The reality is that the quiet, faithful commitment of the church continues to be an unstoppable force. And always will.

Karen Farris