Crawford & Waldman on Tax-Free Housing and Religious Employers

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace University School of Law) & Emily Gold Waldman (Pace University – School of Law) have posted Ministerial Magic: Tax-Free Housing and Religious Employers (University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law Online, Forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: Religious organizations enjoy many of the same benefits that other non-profit organizations do. Churches, temples and mosques, for example, generally are exempt from local real estate taxes. Economically speaking, a tax exemption has the same effect as a subsidy; freedom from tax liability means that the organization can devote its financial resources to other activities. But where an exemption afforded to a religious employee is broader than the equivalent exemption available to a secular employee, a significant Establishment Clause concern is raised. The parsonage exemption of Internal Revenue Code Section 107 presents such an issue: ministers are permitted to exclude cash…

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