Treasury Department Relaxes Shocking Church Tax That Could Have Cost 'Billions'
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The Treasury Department released new guidelines Monday that will help ease the parking tax burden on churches and non-profit organizations.
The guidelines show churches how to soften the blow of a 2017 tax provision that forces them and other historically tax-exempt groups to pay a 21 percent tax on some benefits they provide their employees, such as parking, transportation and other related benefits.
"Treasury is sensitive to the concerns of the tax-exempt community, and hopes this guidance can significantly limit the impact on non-profit groups," said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "Treasury is offering tax-exempt organizations a roadmap for navigating their responsibilities. The guidance issued today aims to provide flexibility while minimizing the burden on non-profit groups that provide employee parking."
While many politicians celebrated the successful pass of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, experts said the parking lot tax provision would cost these churches billions of dollars.
"There are nearly 15 million employees that work in the United States for non-profits – nearly 10 percent of the workforce – so that's 15 million parking places. And conservatively, it's going to cost the non-profit community as a whole up to a billion dollars," Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), told CBN News.
The new guidelines come after Senators urged for the provision to be repealed.
"Requiring these organizations to pay a federal tax on these employee benefits, something they have never been required to do before, will cause them to not only face an increased operating cost, but also an administrative burden by filing 990-T forms with the IRS for the first time," reads a letter signed by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE), who co-chair both the National Prayer Breakfast and the Senate Prayer Breakfast.
While the Treasury Department has softened the blow, Christian leaders are still calling for a full repeal.
The National Association of Evangelicals said on Wednesday that it's up to Congress.
"Congress, the ball is in your court. Treasury has done its best; it is up to you to repeal this tax. Please do this before you go home for Christmas," they said in a statement.
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