November 29, 2018 - Thursday
House Offers to Validate Parking
What do parking lots have to do with the new tax amendment? An awful lot if you're a nonprofit. For the first time in history, charities and churches are being taxed over the benefits they offer their employees -- like free parking or transportation. Most people didn't know about the change, which was buried in last year's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. But now that they do, hundreds of organizations have called on Congress to fix it. And thanks to congressmen like Kevin Brady (R-Texas), House Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), they are.
As part of his 300-page bill to tweak last year's tax cuts, Rep. Brady, the House Ways and Means Chair, announced last night that they've gotten the message from the nonprofit community, and they've made sure their proposal addresses it. "We are proactively eliminating any potential uncertainty for our churches and community organizations so nothing distracts them from their core mission," he told Politico.
That's a huge relief to every church, charity, and faith-based organization in America, who was not only staring down $1.7 billion in new taxes -- but, for the first time, would have had to file federal income taxes with the IRS. "The cost of compliance," Galen Carey of the National Association of Evangelicals explained, "especially for churches that have small staffs or maybe volunteer accountants and bookkeepers -- we don't need this kind of hassle."
FRC and a coalition of groups has been raising this issue for months with GOP leaders. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, we called on Republicans to roll back the tax. "... [T]his provision will hopelessly entangle the IRS with houses of worship, simply because these houses of worship allow their clergy to park in their parking lots. We believe these impacts from Section 512(a)(7) were surely unintended and unanticipated. We therefore call upon you to repeal Section 512(a)(7) through any appropriate legislative package before the end of this calendar year."
We're grateful for the team of House conservatives that wouldn't quit until the issue was resolved. Let's hope the House and Senate pass the bill quickly so that nonprofits can go back to spending their time and money on what matters: serving people!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.