Atheism and Taxes
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17-03-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Atheism and Taxes
One of my biggest gripes about religion is how it gets away with taking in money tax free and doesn't pay property taxes. I read somewhere it's estimated that on average, US citizens pay over $1,000 in extra taxes during the course of a year to make up for these religious institutions.

My first question: Is this correct? Is any of this false?

Now one thing I do know is that there is nothing constitutional about this. Tax exemption for religions is a piece of legislature that was passed and as such, can be taken away.

That said, if my information is correct, does anyone know what would have to be done to get atheism recognized and included under tax exempt status? All it's registered followers could be decreed "priests" and their property as sites of worship.

I'm sure there's oodles of legalese I am ignorant of pertaining to this such as the possibility that for any property to be tax exempt would have to be owned by the organization itself which would cause obvious problems. Also, there's the moral argument: why proclaim ourselves religious in order to circumvent paying taxes which on one hand I agree with but on another hand am angry that I've been paying taxes for my adult life to make up for the taxes that religions I don't even belong to don't pay.

Thoughts?
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17-03-2011, 01:50 PM
RE: Atheism and Taxes
Quote:That said, if my information is correct, does anyone know what would have to be done to get atheism recognized and included under tax exempt status?
So every non-theist organization would get tax exempt status.
The state will go bankcrupt. Problem, public services?

I know that isn't what you meant, but what do you exactly mean? That there should be organizations that do something for atheists and get tax exempt status for it? I don't get it.

Correct me when I'm wrong.
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17-03-2011, 02:02 PM
 
RE: Atheism and Taxes
Ultimately, I have no problem paying taxes. I believe as a citizen living in a free country, part of my responsibility to it and my fellow citizens is to put some of my money in a big pool for services and other things such as the defense of the nation.

I guess what I'm trying to do is point out the absurdity of giving religious organizations tax exemption status which causes citizens to make up the difference despite these organizations collecting money from many of those same citizens! And since it hasn't been scrutinized legitimately as of yet, what better way to point out the absurdity of it than to gather all atheists together in an organization (I think to be recognized as a religion and receive tax exempt status a membership number requirement has to be met) and achieve tax-exempt status alongside religions.

I'll be the first to admit I resort to extreme actions rather than subtlety and this may fall into that category however I don't think on this issue, subtlety has gotten anyone anywhere and I really, really, really, despise paying extra taxes for religions I don't belong to.

To be clear: paying unemployment taxes even though I've never been unemployed I have no problem with. I like to hope it would be there for me should I face the misfortune of losing my job and I have no problem helping my fellow citizens who at this moment are not as fortunate as me.

Also had no problem paying property taxes which went to local education when I did not have a child because I wanted there to be good funding when I did decide to have children.

But paying extra taxes to make up for religious organizations that are exempt? I don't abide by that.
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17-03-2011, 02:08 PM
RE: Atheism and Taxes
Quote:And since it hasn't been scrutinized legitimately as of yet, what better way to point out the absurdity of it than to gather all atheists together in an organization (I think to be recognized as a religion and receive tax exempt status a membership number requirement has to be met) and achieve tax-exempt status alongside religions.
But an atheist organization could not be recognized as a religion since it's not a religion. I think the better thing to do would be to get tax exempt status for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That'd be fun.

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17-03-2011, 02:14 PM
RE: Atheism and Taxes
Hey, SANSD8TY.

Well things don't change just cause you want them to. Religious organisations have had long and evolving relationships with states. This is where that evolution has led. Despite what problems people might perceive, religious organisations are an important and integrated part of life within the state. Separation of church and state is about eliminating religious control of the state, not telling religions that they're not allowed having a relationship with the state. I have a relationship with my bank, doesn't mean I run it.

As for tax exempt status for Atheists, it'll never happen. The tax exempt status is for people who provide members of the populace with something. Disagree with the content, the fact that it's there is indisputable. Atheists have opted out of religion. You can't opt out of something and then complain you no longer get the benefits. Also, Atheism isn't anything. There's no organisation, no transparancy and most importantly, no leadership or followers. Nobody IS an Atheist, they're NOT Theists.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-03-2011, 02:47 PM
 
RE: Atheism and Taxes
I hear what you're saying Matt and I understand the concept of the church's relationship with the state. However I think the line of that relationship is beginning to blue as more and more preachers openly tell their flock how to vote and who to vote for as well as the fact that some churches openly discriminate in regards to gay marriage.

Perhaps like Kikko said, we could organize under the FSM. Wink
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17-03-2011, 03:34 PM
RE: Atheism and Taxes
Hey, Sansd8ty.

I don't see the same blurring that you do. Voting blocs are an inextrudable part of democracy. For example, in Canada there is a political party, the Bloc Quebecois, that only runs candidates in the province of Quebec. They get a good chunk of those seats and make it almost impossible for any government to railroad Quebec into anything.

Outside of parties, the day we eliminate special interest groups from democracy is the day I sprout a 90 foot redwood from my anus. Good God I hope that never happens Tongue. Democracy is replete with special interest groups that throw their support behind whatever candidate is willing to represent their interests. It just so happens that there are something like 80 million Evangelical Christians in the US, so they have significant sway on the outcome of elections when they organise. That's just the way it is and it has nothing to do with the separation of church and state.

If I was an American (again, the redwood) I'd engage that group rather than fight it if I wanted their votes.

As far as discrimination against gay marriage, you can't argue with the fact that a number of church groups hate gays. Unfortunately, trying to prevent or cause changes in legislation isn't a crime and really, it should never be. Just because they lobby against gay marriage doesn't mean they should lose other privileges. But I mean, don't worry. It's a constitutional question. It'll pass everywhere eventually.

If I was a polititian, I wouldn't recognise the FSM. Because it's clear as day that it's not legitimate. I mean, it's a great protest move. It's provocative. But it'll never work.

I always say this about polititians (not my idea, I jacked it from Daniel Quinn). Polititians can only act in reaction to their constituancy. If 90% are for gay marriage and you're not, you ain't getting elected. So polititians don't change things in any meaninful way, voter movements do. So if you're so fired up about the tax exempt status of religions, figure out how to get millions of voters on your side.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-03-2011, 06:10 PM
 
RE: Atheism and Taxes
I recently tried to pass mock legislation that would end this tax exemption status. It passed my Senate but failed the House.

The trade off of course is that if you make them pay taxes, you could potentially increase their role in government because they then would not have to remain nonpartisan and could lobby and campaign from the pulpit etc...

That stuff already happens to an extent though, and houses of worship don't even have to fill out a form detailing where their income goes to be tax exempt.

I got by the tradeoff by ending tax exemptions and keeping the nonpartisan requirement, technically unconstitutional, but fine for a high school convention.
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17-03-2011, 10:10 PM
RE: Atheism and Taxes
Another thing is that a house of worship has a rather low number of required seats. In some states large families create a religion and use their family as the members to get the tax exemption. Like most random laws about taxes it is often exploited.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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18-03-2011, 01:55 AM
RE: Atheism and Taxes
(17-03-2011 10:10 PM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  Another thing is that a house of worship has a rather low number of required seats. In some states large families create a religion and use their family as the members to get the tax exemption. Like most random laws about taxes it is often exploited.

You mean like the Westboro Baptist Church ?

Atheism is a religion like OFF is a TV channel !!!

Proud of my genetic relatives Big Grin
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