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Kentucky Court Dismisses Atheists' Challenge to Church and Clergy Tax Provisions

Conclusion: groups lacked 'standing' in order for federal case to proceed.

In 2013, the American Atheists Inc., Atheists of Northern Indiana Inc., and Atheist Archives of Kentucky Inc. (collectively, the "Atheists") filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Kentucky, claiming certain Internal Revenue Code provisions preferentially benefit churches and religious organizations. According to the Atheists, the tax code treats religious organizations more favorably than non-religious charities, and this favorable treatment represents an unconstitutional preference for religion in violation of the First Amendment's prohibition of an establishment of religion.

Although the Atheists did not specifically identify the statutes and regulations they were challenging, the court surmised that the following provisions of the tax code probably were the ones the Atheists were challenging:

Churches are not required to file an application for recognition of tax-exempt status.

In ...

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Posted:
  • June 26, 2014

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