Churches: Avoid Mentioning Romney or Obama

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It is common for some churches and religious leaders to integrate current events and circumstances into their sermons.  Currently the hottest topics around the nation happen to be political, as the Republicans and Democrats work around the clock to impress voters.  However, if they care to avoid tax problems, churches have to be very careful not to come out in support of one candidate over another.  Out of an abundance of caution, churches (and those who speak on their behalf) should not mention specific candidates this election year.  In fact, they should do little more than encourage their congregations to vote, and maybe provide non-partisan voter education information.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.


Ordinary people are going to talk about politics at church; this is not the kind of activity that is prohibited by 501(c)(3).  But if you hear anything (or read anything) coming from those with authority to speak for your church that favors one candidate over another, or has the effect of favoring one of the candidates, you can be sure that this is a violation of the Internal Revenue Code.  Consult a tax attorney for more information.


The Payroll Tax Cut Extension

There are always two sides to the tax relief coin. Heads: slash taxes. Tails: find a way to pay for it.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that the payroll tax cut needs to be extended, but can’t agree on how to fund it, and unless they start making concessions soon, it will expire.

Republicans want to pay for the tax cut by cutting spending elsewhere. Specifically, they want to freeze federal workers’ pay through 2015 and reduce the government bureaucracy to the tune of 200,000 jobs.

Democrats want to tax the rich. Specifically, they want to make deeper cuts to the payroll tax and pay for it by imposing a 3.25 percent surtax on income exceeding $1 million.

Both of these measures have been put to votes and both have been killed. Still we are being told that the payroll tax cut will likely be extended in one form or another before Congress breaks for Christmas.