Federal District Court Judge Holds Clergy Housing Allowance Exemption Unconstitutional

As of last week, religious institutions and the clergypersons who serve them have been put on notice:  Subject to appeal, a Federal statute that provides an exemption for the housing allowance for clergy members has been held unconstitutional.  For now, the holding affects only clergy who receive cash compensation for a housing allowance, not clergy who reside in a parsonage or other accommodations provided for the convenience of the employer.

“Charity”: A Brief History Lesson

What does “charity” mean?  The IRS defines it broadly as “relief of the poor and distressed or underprivileged; advancement of religion, education, or science, erection of public buildings or monuments or works lessening the burdens of government; promotion of social welfare by organizations designed to accomplish the above purposes or (i) lessen neighborhood tensions; (ii) eliminate prejudice and discrimination; (iii) defend human and civil rights secured by law; or (iv) combat community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.”  That covers quite a bit of territory for “charitable