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Reaping Where They Have Not Sowed: Have American Churches Failed to Satisfy the Requirements for the Religious Tax Exemption?

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Title: Reaping Where They Have Not Sowed: Have American Churches Failed to Satisfy the Requirements for the Religious Tax Exemption?
Author: James, Vaughn E.
Abstract: Part I of this Article will review the historical development of the religious tax exemption, tracing the progress of the exemption through Judeo-Christian history to post-revolutionary America. Part II will review current law regarding the religious tax exemption, discussing the benefits churches receive from the grant of the exemptions, as well as the responsibilities thrust upon them in exchange for such exemptions. Part III will review attempts over the last fifty years by American churches to engage in lobbying and political activities, detailing the political activities of three religious groupings: the Roman Catholic Church; the Religious Right; and African-American churches. Part IV will discuss efforts by the Internal Revenue Service ("the Service") to enforce the law by discussing the sole recorded instance wherein the Service has revoked the tax-exempt status of a church for its failure to adhere to the anti-lobbying and anti-political campaigning requirements of the IRC. Recognizing that the Service's efforts have not stemmed the tide of lobbying and other political activity by American churches, Part V will propose a three-part solution to the problem. Section VI will conclude by reviewing the current debate regarding the religious tax exemption and will reiterate the author's opinion that the Service must act now to ensure that churches in America no longer reap where they have not sowed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10601/393
Related Resources: Click to follow Hein Online link Click to follow Lexis link Click to follow Westlaw link Click to follow SSRN link
Date: 2004

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