Last updated on: 1/24/2023 | Author:


The background and pro and con arguments were written by staff based upon input from the following sources.

1.US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, (publication 1828 (11-2009) Catalog Number 21096G),, 2009
2.Keith S. Blair, JD, "Praying for a Tax Break: Churches Political Speech and the Loss of Section 501c3 Tax Exempt Status," Denver University Law Review, Feb. 2009
3.Averil Cameron, PhD, The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 12: The Crisis of Empire, A.D. 193-337,, 2005
4.Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, "Christianity and the Roman Empire,", Feb. 17, 2011
5.Warren E. Burger, US Supreme Court opinion, Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York,, May 4, 1970
6.Michael Hatfield, "Ignore the Rumors—Campaigning from the Pulpit Is Okay: Thinking Past the Symbolism of Section 501(c)(3)," Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, 2006
7.Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, "Politics and the Pulpit 2008,", 2008
8.Sarah Netter, "Satanist Church Rents Out Oklahoma City Civic Center for Exorcism,", Sep. 1, 2010
9.Jeff Schweitzer, "The Church of America,", Oct. 11, 2011
10.Independent Budget Office of the City of New York, "City’s Multitude of Property Tax Exemptions Add Up to a Wealth of Revenue Foregone,", July 15, 2011
11.David Seifman, "New York City's Losing $13.5B in Property-Tax Breaks,", July 16, 2011
12.Erik W. Stanley, "IRS Rules Don't Trump the Constitution,", Sep. 8, 2008
13.John Marshall, US Supreme Court opinion, McCulloch v. Maryland,, 1819
14.Austin Cline, "Tax Exemptions Available to Churches," (accessed Nov. 10, 2011)
15.John J. DiIulio, Jr., "The Value of Nonprofits," America magazine, Feb. 7, 2011
16.Don Boys, "Should Churches Pay Taxes?," Cornerstone Communications USA (Common Sense for Today) website,, 1997
17.Brian Quinn, "Should Churches Pay Property Taxes?,", Mar. 1, 2011
18.Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York,, May 4, 1970
19.Erik W. Stanley, "Should Churches Be Taxed?,", Mar. 10, 2010
20.Scott Tibbs, "Should Churches Pay Taxes?", June 24, 2009
21.National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), "Quick Facts About Nonprofits,", 2009
22.Nicole Neroulias, "Study: Churches Inching Back from Recession,", Apr. 20, 2011
23.Austin Cline, "Religious Tax Exemptions vs. Government Policy: When Charities Aren't Charitable," (accessed Nov. 10, 2011)
24.William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court dissenting opinion, Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York,, May 4, 1970
25.Barry W. Lynn, "Why Don't Churches Pay Taxes?: Counterpoint,", Sep. 23, 2008
26.Mark Twain, Mark Twain's Notebook, 1935
27.William H. Rehnquist, US Supreme Court Opinion, Regan v. Taxation with Representation,, May 23, 1983
28.US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), "IRS Warns of 'Corporation Sole' Tax Scam,", Mar. 29, 2004
29.Richard Behar, "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,", May 6, 1991
30.Douglas Frantz, "Scientology’s Puzzling Journey from Tax Rebel to Tax Exempt,", Mar. 9, 1997
31.Robert H. Jackson, US Supreme Court dissenting opinion, Everson v. Board of Education of the Township of Ewing,, Feb. 10, 1947
32.Karl Taro Greenfeld, "God Wants Me to Be Rich,", July 16, 2008
33.L. Christopher Smith, "Scientology’s Money Trail,", Nov. 19, 2008
34.US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), "Charities, Churches and Politics,", Oct. 19, 2011
35.Andy Birkey, "Few Consequences Currently Faced by Pastors Who Endorse from Pulpit,", Oct. 6, 2011
36.Kathy Lohr, "Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances,", Dec. 4, 2007
37.Carl Gregg, MDiv, "Against 'Pulpit Freedom Sunday' (Unless Churches Pay Their Taxes First!)", Oct. 2, 2011
38.Bruce R. Hopkins, The Law of Tax-Exempt Organizations, 10th edition, 2011
39.Edwin S. Gaustad, Church and State in America, 2nd edition, 2003
40."Tax Exemptions of Religious Property," (accessed Nov. 10, 2011)
41.Diana B. Henriques, "Religion-based Tax Breaks: Housing to Paychecks to Books,", Oct. 11, 2006
42.US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), "Exempt Organizations User Fees – 2011,", Oct. 20, 2011
43.Kimberly Winston, "Atheists Target Clergy Housing Tax Break,", Sep. 20, 2011
44.US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), "Topic 417 – Earnings for Clergy,", Sep. 23, 2011
45.Paul H.K. Hageman, "An Examination of Religious Tax Exemption Policy Under Section 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Code," Valparaiso University Law Review, Winter 1983
46.Paul Arnsberger, et al., "A History of the Tax-Exempt Sector: An SOI Perspective," Statistics of Income Bulletin,, Winter 2008
47.Trinidad v. Sagrada Orden,, Jan. 14, 1924
48.William J. Brennan, Jr., US Supreme Court concurring opinion, Walz v. Tax Commission of City of New York,, May 4, 1970
49.Madison C. Peters, "Why Church Property Should Be Taxed," 1894, Cornell University Library archive, (accessed Nov. 10, 2011)
50.Humanist Society of Gainesville, "Religion on Welfare: The Case for Taxing Churches in Alachua County,", 1993
51.Elizabeth Livingston, "A Bright Line Points Toward Legal Compromise: IRS Condoned Lobbying Activities for Religious Entities and Non-Profits," Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Spring 2008
52.US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), "Exemption Requirements – Section 501(c)(3) Organizations,", Nov. 15, 2010
53.University of Virginia Religious Freedom Page, "Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, 397 U.S. 664," (accessed Nov. 10, 2011)
54.Douglas Frantz, "$12.5 Million Deal with I.R.S. Lifted Cloud Over Scientologists,", Dec. 31, 1997
55.Matthai Kuruvila, "Tax-exempt Benefit Disputed in Prop. 8 Campaign," San Francisco Chronicle website, Nov. 28, 2008
56.Sandhya Bathija, "Mormon Might: LDS Church Leaders Have Inappropriate Government Role in Utah," Americans United for Separation of Church and State website,, Jan. 27, 2009
57.Dan Merica, "Pastor Who Endorsed Perry Accused of Breaking Tax Rule,", Oct. 12, 2011
58.Laura Bly, "On a Wing and a Prayer,", Jan. 26, 2006
59."A Pastor's Salary," Crown Financial Ministries website (accessed Nov. 29, 2011)
60.Erwin Chemerinsky, "The Parsonage Exemption Violates the Establishment Clause and Should Be Declared Unconstitutional," Whittier Law Review, 2003
61.Warren Bird, "2010 Large Church Salary and Benefits Report: An Illustrated Leadership Network Research Study," Leadership Network website, 2010
62.Laura Saunders, "Tax Break for Clergy Questioned," Wall Street Journal website, Aug. 23, 2011
63."Senate Finance Committee, Minority Staff Review of World Changers Church International (WCCI) (Creflo and Taffi Dollar),", Jan. 5, 2011
64.Michael Luo, "Preaching a Gospel of Wealth in a Glittery Market, New York,", Jan. 15, 2006
65.US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Commissioner of IRS v. Philip A. Driscoll and Lynn B. Driscoll, a.k.a. Donna L. Driscoll,, Feb. 8, 2012
66.Gregory Korte and Fredreka Schouten, "Trump's Religious Freedom Order Doesn't Change Law on Political Activity,", May 4, 2017
67.IRS, "Annual Exempt Organization Return: Who Must File,", June 17, 2022
68.IRS, "Form 1023 and 1023-EZ: Amount of User Fee,", Jan. 5, 2023
69.Jacqueline Thomsen, "House Passes Measure Blocking IRS from Revoking Churches’ Tax-Exempt Status over Political Activity,", July 19, 2018
70.Tara Isabella Burton and Alissa Wilkinson, "Democrats Eke Out Small Win Over Church Provision in Tax Bill,", Dec. 15, 2017
71.Scott Greenberg, "John Oliver Set Up His Own “Church” to Make a Point about the Tax Code,", Aug. 20, 2015
72.Peter J Reilly, Atheist Group Asks to Disclose to IRS What Churches Disclose: Nothing,, Oct. 13, 2018
73.Tony Semerad, “LDS Wealth Spurs Question: Should Churches Be Tax-Exempt?,”, Apr. 17, 2022
74.Jared Walczak, What If We Taxed Churches?,, Sep. 9, 2021
75.Faith Communities Today, Twenty Years of Congregational Change: The 2020 Faith Communities Today Overview,, 2021