Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Discussion topic: non-profits

This week’s topic was is about non-profits. It was prompted by a comment about the way that non-profit PBS is treated under the law, and the tax code, and through public subsidies rather than the way that for-profit business, that seem to do similar things are treated.

Underlying that, was this principle (again, as best I can remember it) that there should be equal treatment under the law.

There are two subjects here: public subsidies and tax treatment of non-profits, and tax-deductions for donors. I’ve only begun to dig into the subject. Here is some interesting reading.

Forbes article suggests the possibility of taxing non-profits.

Article from Pew Charitable trusts on taxing non-profits. Includes a description of the plan proposed by Gov. Le Page, and a table of asset holdings of exempt organizations, by state. The total is $5 trillion. (We are a rich country!)

An article from the Washington Post on the effect of Virginia’s law which, like the Le Page proposal, lets local governments tax some non-profits.

But of course, not religious organizations! Neither Le Page’s proposal nor Virginia’s allow that. This piece in Time proposes that churches should pay their share. Although neither proposes to remove the exemption for donations.

But why not? And why not churches, too.

Here is some interesting reading related to that:

Are churches  making America poor” from Newsweek.

How 727 megachurches spend their money”  from Christianity today.

Finances of the Catholic Church in the United State from The Economist. Interesting facts: the Economist estimates that the Church spends about $170 billion a year. Bigger than GE. More employees than Wal-Mart.

Only a third of charitable contributions go to the poor” from Washington Post.



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