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• In a highly controversial decision that eventually may affect churches in other states, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that all religious organizations, including churches, are subject to state unemployment taxes. Here are the facts. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) contains a set of guidelines that a state's unemployment tax program must meet in order to avoid federal unemployment taxes. Although compliance with the federal guidelines is optional, states normally comply in order to avoid subjecting local employers to double taxation (under both federal and state law). One of the federal guidelines with which states must comply exempts services performed in the employ of a church, a convention or association of churches, or certain church-controlled organizations from unemployment tax. There is no exemption for religious organizations not affiliated with a church or convention ...

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  • November 1, 1989

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