• An editorial in the New York Times (October 28, 1989) suggested that Congress raise needed revenues by repealing the housing allowance exclusion for clergy. The editorial (entitled “Hidden Billions in the Budget”) noted that federal spending continues to rise while taxes remain fixed, and concluded that revenues will have to be obtained by closing existing loopholes. It quoted estimates of the congressional joint tax committee that the housing allowance exclusion costs the government $200 million each year. There is little doubt that Congress will be under heavy pressure in 1990 to look to the reduction or elimination of various tax exclusions and deductions as a potential means of raising needed revenues. Their job is made easier by the well-publicized fiscal excesses of many televangelists and other clergy. The housing allowance is the most significant tax benefit available to clergy. Those wishing to preserve it intact should be careful to strictly comply with its requirements, and to view it with prudence and conservatism.
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