Exempt Profiteers

I list a little bit to port; maybe not as far as I used to, but I remain more interested in the concerns of the left than those of the right. The complexities of economic disparity in this country are beyond my comprehension. Tax code favors the wealthy, both individuals and corporations. The poorest of our citizens pay very little in personal income tax, if anything at all. Truly, what portion of nothing should be taken from those who have little beyond human dignity? It is unethical that those who have the ability to pay are favored to the degree that we pay less, or even none at all. As a business owner I know we get the benefit of some of those perfectly legal tax loopholes. It’s not exactly fair.  I suppose I could rationalize it by saying that we have risked a lot of our personal equity to build a business, still it doesn’t seem quite right.

There are a lot of small steps we could take to restore some semblance of fairness to our process. We should begin with tax exempt organizations.

“Congress has enacted special tax laws applicable to churches, religious organizations, and ministers in recognition of their unique status in American society and of their rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.” One of the requirements, in keeping this special status, is compliance with a ban on substantial lobbying activity. Religious affiliates, funded by churches, routinely lobby government in opposition to same gender marriage and Roe v. Wade.  Churches are not alone in exerting undue influence. I once worked for a 501 (c) where the CEO sent corporate wide emails advising the employees how to vote.

“A business league is an association of persons having some common business interest, the purpose of which is to promote such common interest and not to engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit. Trade associations and professional associations are business leagues. To be exempt, a business league’s activities must be devoted to improving business conditions of one or more lines of business as distinguished from performing particular services for individual persons.” Oh please. Chamber of Commerce qualifies as a business league, and it is allowed to lobby under the law.

There isn’t time to list the myriad ways in which tax exempt political organizations abuse the status. It’s a sweet deal for them. “The political organization taxable income equals its gross income (excluding exempt function income) less deductions allowed by the Code that are directly connected with producing gross income (excluding exempt function income), computed with certain modifications set forth in § 527, including a specific deduction of $100.” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

In my limited understanding of tax exempt organizations and associations, very few of them deserve a pass. The entire world works on the for profit model. Tax exemptions for organizations and associations should be reviewed carefully and, in most cases, rescinded.


About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
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