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Facing a Future Without the Clergy Housing Allowance

Ways churches can prepare should this tax benefit ever go away.

Facing a Future Without the Clergy Housing Allowance

The latest constitutional challenge to the clergy housing allowance brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) cleared its first significant legal hurdle in October, when a federal district court judge ruled the valuable longtime tax benefit for ministers to be an unconstitutional preference for religion. The parsonage allowance pertaining to church-owned housing remains unaffected.

The decision may now head to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Were the Seventh Circuit to affirm the lower court's decision (a decision is expected to come during the second half of 2018), it would apply only to ministers in that circuit (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin). It would become a national precedent binding on ministers in all states if (1) such a decision is ever affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, or (2) the Internal Revenue Service follows a Seventh Circuit affirmation ...

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Posted:
  • January 23, 2018

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