Foundation Asks IRS To Require All Churches To Report Income The Internal Revenue Service

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Foundation Asks IRS To Require All Churches To Report Income The Internal Revenue Service should require that all churches and church-related religious groups report income by filing 990 forms required of all other tax-exempt entities. In a letter to Michael P. Dolan, Acting Commissioner, the Freedom From Religion Foundation pointed out: "The present exemption from reporting gives a privileged position to churches and religious societies. There is absolutely no oversight, no financial accountability and often no criminal accountability." The 990 forms are required of all tax-exempt organizations grossing more than $25,000 a year--with the automatic exemption of churches, primary and secondary religious schools, mission societies, religious orders and religious or apostolic groups. "The purpose of requiring tax-exempt groups to file these very detailed annual schedules is to ensure that the group is truly charitable, with funds primarily used for program services, and to safeguard inappropriate activities," explains Anne Gaylor, Foundation president. "This is a monitoring tool for abuse that is not intrusive." In her letter to Dolan, Gaylor called the religious exemption "an invitation to deceit, cover up, exploitation, and abuse. We have only to look at the tragedies caused by Rev. Jim Jones, the current standoff in Waco, Texas, the Jim Bakkers and the mushrooming cults to see the folly of our current system. "Bona fide religious groups should be willing and happy to conform to rules that apply to everyone else, including those secular nonprofit groups which are, unlike churches, exclusively charitable." ----------------------------------------------------- This article is reprinted (with permission) from the April 1993 issue of Freethought Today, bulletin of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. For more information, write or call Freedom From Religion Foundation P. O. Box 750 Madison, WI 53701 USA (608) 256-8900 ------------------------------------------------------


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