Breaking: Federal District Court Declares a Religious Income Tax Exemption Unconstitutional
A federal district court judge has declared “unconstitutional” a portion of U.S. law that allows “a minister of the gospel” to not pay income tax on a specific portion of their compensation.
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that the so-called “parish exemption,” which allows religious ministers to avoid paying taxes on the value of their housing granted to them by their religious employers, “violates the establishment clause” of the U.S. Constitution and must be discontinued.
The law, 26 U.S. C. § 107(2), has bee on the books since 1954.
The tax exemption was estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers $2.3 billion from 2002-2007 alone, likely more in the years since.
Heralding it as a “major federal court victory,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which brought the lawsuit along with their co-presidents, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, offered an explanation of yesterday’s ruling.