There has been an important development this month in the most recent court challenge to the minister’s housing exclusion brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
The federal government who has the responsibility for defending this provision of the tax code made its first filing in the case, and in doing so, conceded that based on its understanding of the facts FFRF has the legal standing required to challenge the housing allowance exclusion (while maintaining there is no standing to challenge the exclusion for parsonages).
While this is simply a procedural update—there has been no decision by the court on the merits—it is an important one. FFRF’s previous attack on the housing allowance was ultimately rejected by the appeals court based on standing.
With standing now conceded by the federal government in this case, this removes an important barrier to allowing FFRF to proceed for the time being with its latest challenge to the housing allowance at the federal district court level.
Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.
This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.
For more information or if you need additional assistance, please use the contact information below.
Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369
Tel: (888) 421-0101
Fax: (888) 876-5101