The preachers of America didn't have to wait long to find out where this Grassley probe was heading. It's heading further toward Nicolaitanism, which God told the church at Ephesus, he hated.
Nicolaitanism is where there is a special priesthood that is exalted above the people. In order to keep the people happy in their slavery, the government through the IRS is producing approximately a million Judas Goats in America by giving pastors, Rabbis, imams, and other cult leaders, special tax breaks and benefits that regular church workers such as music ministers, Sunday school directors, Christian school teachers, clerical workers, etc. do not receive. Even though the church may license these "lesser workers" as ministers, unless they do what the IRS defines as "sacerdotal duties", which is defined as "baptizing, giving communion or performing marriages" they do not qualify as a state clergyman. Even if they do reach that high and lofty perch, they had better keep exact records, or they will be denied their benefits. Read on and weep.
Where this is all heading is a point at which the IRS will stipulate the amount the pastor may receive, based on the amount the church receives in offerings.
The following is a summary of Dan Busby, President of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability), responding to a request for recommendations.
God, Government and Me – Money in the Church
By Dan Busby
Monday, March 14, 2011
Following a three-year investigation of six churches (televangelists organized as churches), Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) closed the investigation and handed off 61 pages of primarily church-related tax policy issues to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) on January 6, 2011. The ECFA has, in turn, created the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, with CPA Michael Batts as chair.
Among several issues from the investigation that will be reviewed by the commission are: housing allowance exclusions for clergy; whether churches should be required to file detailed financial reports; and the status of "love offerings" to ministers.
As this work proceeds, what lessons of the Grassley investigation can be applied to churches? Here are a few:
Church disbursements must be limited to church-related expenses. In reports prepared by Grassley's staff, there are suggestions that certain expenditures made by some of the churches were personal expenses and unrelated to the ministry of the church.
This is a wake-up call for churches that are not careful in distinguishing between expenses that are church-related and those that are not. Where does this danger make its appearance in the life of the church? Usually in paying staff-related expenses.
Occasionally staff may submit expenses for reimbursement that are not church-related. Examples: A pastor takes his family out for a meal. This is not a church-related expense. Or, a pastor joins a gym or a softball team, because he is trying to stay in shape. Again, these are not church-related expenses.
Determining those eligible for the ministerial housing allowance. In the report prepared by Grassley's staff, there is the suggestion that churches sometimes afford ministerial treatment to those who do not qualify for these benefits, which includes qualifying for the housing allowance.
Love offerings are almost always taxable when paid to a pastor. If you don't believe the federal government is serious about treating love offerings as taxable, it would be enlightening to read about the court case that led to a Charlotte-based pastor and his wife recently being sentenced to prison for six and eight years, respectively. They received significant sums of love offerings and failed to report the amounts as taxable income, in addition to other issues.
Love offerings are generally reportable on Form W-2 as compensation. If the amounts are reported on Form W-2, they are generally considered to be subject to SECA-type Social Security tax (if paid to lay staff, subject to FICA-type Social Security tax).
ECFA's new Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations will review the above issues and much more over the next two-to-three years. Stay tuned, because some of the issues could potentially affect every congregation in America.
Dan Busby is a certified public accountant, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and the author of the Zondervan Clergy Tax & Financial Guide.
Editors note: If anyone has any doubt that EFCA is the biggest Judas Goat of all just wait until their final recommendations are handed over to Grassley. It will be no different that when the Sanhedrin handed the Lord Jesus over to Pilate, only this time it will be all of the clergy persons and churches of America in one fell swoop. And for the first time in the history of the nation, all churches will have to open their innards to the Internal Revenue Department to view every activity of the church.
It is reported that Rothschild said long ago, "Give me control of a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws" So it is, "Give the IRS control over the churches money supply and they care not about its doctrine." That church has been defanged.