Tag Archives: Tax Exemption

A positive thing, should the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision go against us

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

I am looking forward to something if the Supreme Court decides to redefine marriage to remove the complementary genders.

This USA Today article from Michael Farris, head of the HSLDA, hints at it.

He writes:

Justice Alito posed a predictable, but revealing question to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., in the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage oral argument: “In the Bob Jones case, the court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”

Verrilli replied that he would need to know more specifics, but allowed that “it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that.”

The solicitor general’s answer should have been and probably was practiced. The question was unlikely to have surprised Verrilli, especially with the kind of preparation undertaken by the highest appellate lawyer for the United States in such high stakes situations. Such preparations would include multiple moot courts, simulated arguments with various lawyers playing the roles of each of the members of the Supreme Court trying to ask as many questions as possible.

As an appellate litigator and the coach of eight collegiate national moot court championship teams, I understand the goal of such preparation. You never want to hear a question from the bench that you have not thought about ahead of time.

Alito’s question was premised on the Bob Jones University case from 1983 in which the IRS revoked the school’s tax exempt status because of its policies on interracial dating and marriage. BJU defended on the basis of the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court rejected their defense holding that the government’s goal of eradicating racial discrimination in marriage was more important than BJU’s religious rights.

So, the follow-up question from Alito’s question is obvious: If the court rules in favor of same sex marriage, how can religious colleges that refuse to acknowledge such unions avoid BJU’s fate?

No one should think that IRS implications will stop with colleges. Religious high schools, grade schools and any other religious institution will face the same outcome. And this includes churches.

All of these entities are exempt from taxation under the same section of the IRS code. And even though churches can be exempt without application, their exemption can nonetheless be revoked.

Even if it takes the IRS years to begin the enforcement proceedings against such institutions, we can expect other fallout from this decision to begin shortly after the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Colleges and universities that receive federal funding will be coerced into immediate compliance. Accreditation agencies will ratchet up their bullying of Christian institutions, as has already been done against Gordon College in Massachusetts. Threats to accreditation are fatal. Colleges may not legally operate in several stateswithout it.

Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions. Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.

A slogan of the American Revolution, “We have no King but Jesus” may well be overturned by a 5 to 4 decision of the Supreme Court near the end of June.

Now here’s what I want to see.

I have spent a lot of my life in church, youth groups, campus Christian groups (not talking about Ratio Christi of course) and around happy-clappy Christians who focused on feelings and being accepted. In my current church, issues like abortion and same-sex marriage have never been discussed, much less economics and foreign policy. The leaders of the church are very pious Calvinists who struggle with the idea that they should discuss anything. It probably has something to do with losing the money they get from having a tax-exempt status, but they couch it in piety when they explain to us why we are getting a gospel sermon for the millionth time in a row.

Well, now. I think that if we lose this same-sex marriage case in the Supreme Court, one of the wonderful things that will happen is that these pious churchy ministers will at last be confronted with the mistake they made by giving away the culture to the secularists. At last, all the decades of anti-intellectualism and feminization will hit them right where it hurts – in their pocketbooks. And there will be no denying that they made a terrible mistake in trying to make church solely about praise hymns, devotions and Bible study then. There is a price to pay for focusing on good feelings and comfort, and the churchy pastors are about to find out what it is.

Maybe the Sunday after the decision, the pastors in my church might actually talk to us about the good secular arguments and sociological evidence that there is in favor of traditional marriage. Hey, we might even get a sermon on the evils of divorce, with more arguments and evidence to support the Bible’s position on that issue. Maybe even a sermon on the sexual revolution and premarital sex, that pairs what the Bible teaches with secular arguments and secular evidence that can be used by the flock to make an impact with non-Christians in the culture. Money has a wonderful way of focusing the minds of the most pious of pastors.

IRS official who targeted Tea Party groups now a director in Obamacare administration

ABC News reports.

Excerpt:

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.

Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.

Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.

As the House voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer.

“Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.”

Sen. John Cornyn even introduced a bill, the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury, or any delegate, including the IRS, from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.

“Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans’ health care,” Cornyn, R-Texas, stated. “I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also reacted to the revelation late Thursday, stating the news was “stunning, just stunning.”

More here from Guy Benson, who linked to this story. He reports that Sarah Hall Ingram received more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded bonuses while working at the IRS.

IRS gave confidential documents from conservative groups to liberal group ProPublica

The IRS also held up tax-exemption applications of conservative groups.

Excerpt:

A newly obtained watchdog report described how the “inappropriate” IRS program that flagged conservative groups for extra scrutiny led to massive delays, with some organizations stuck waiting years to find out about their applications.

The findings were contained in a highly anticipated and highly critical inspector general’s report, obtained by Fox News, on a practice that IRS officials first acknowledged on Friday.

The report revealed that the program began as far back as 2010. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concluded that it was the result of “ineffective management” and “inappropriate criteria” which must be corrected.

Describing the impact of the IRS program, the report said the flawed criteria led to Tea Party and other groups being singled out and subjected to “substantial delays.” More than 80 percent of the cases it reviewed were left open more than one year, and some were left in limbo for more than three years.

[…]The internal investigation found that the “inappropriate criteria” — which led to the IRS asking Tea Party and other groups about their donors and making other intrusive requests — was allowed to stay in place for more than 18 months. During that time, conservative groups had their applications put on hold for months, even years. 

What did the IRS do with these applications and donor lists?

Breitbart.com explains what happened next:

The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.

The commendable admission lends further evidence to the lengths the IRS went during an election cycle to silence tea party and limited government voices.

ProPublica says the documents the IRS gave them were “not supposed to be made public”:

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year… In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

The group says that “no unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.”

The National Organization for Marriage had their donor list leaked by someone in the IRS.

Excerpt:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today released documents showing that their confidential U.S. tax return containing private donor information came directly from the Internal Revenue Service and was provided to NOM’s political opponents, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC, is a national co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign.

“The American people are entitled to know how a confidential tax return containing private donor information filed exclusively with the Internal Revenue Service has been given to our political opponents whose leader also happens to be co-chairing President Obama’s reelection committee,” said NOM President Brian Brown. “It is shocking that a political ally of President Obama’s would come to possess and then publicly release a confidential tax return that came directly from the Internal Revenue Service. We demand to know who is responsible for this criminal act and what the Administration is going to do to get to the bottom of it.”

On March 30, 2012, the Huffington Post published NOM’s confidential 2008 tax return filed with the IRS, which it said came from the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC has said on its own site the documents came from a “whistleblower.” However, NOM has determined that the documents came directly from the Internal Revenue Service.

The Human Rights Campaign was one of the groups that denounced the Family Research Council as a “hate group”. This is the same Family Research Council that was attacked by a gun-wielding gay activist named Floyd Lee Corkins II. The crime was prosecuted as  an act of domestic terrorism, and Corkins was convicted. The Human Rights Campaign has gotten people fired for disagreeing with same-sex marriage.

Remember that everything that the IRS was doing was not paid for with money that they themselves earned themselves by providing useful products and services. The IRS gets money by culling it from profitable private sector businesses and their employees, through compulsory confiscation of earned income. Should we be paying them to do this? Is this good value for the money?