Religious Groups Relieved at House Repeal of “Parking Lot Tax”
2 January 2020 | The United States Congress has repealed what was being called the “parking lot tax” which had been part of a 2017 tax cut measure that would have taxed churches and other entities on benefits they afforded employees.
Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division of the Adventist Church, had joined many other religious leaders in advocating for the repeal of the tax.
Catholic Philly.com reported that the 21% tax would have been placed on benefits like parking spaces and transit subsidies given to employees of houses of worship and nonprofits. House and Senate appropriations bills, passed by both chambers of Congress last month, repealed this tax.
“Houses of worship and charitable organizations provide invaluable spiritual care, social services, and support in every community in our country,” said the chairmen of two U.S. Catholic bishops’ committees in a statement released December 20. “Especially during this time of year, we remember the ongoing good work happening through these organizations. To impose a new tax on these entities was wrong in the first place.”
Jackson had co-signed a March letter to Democratic and Republican leadership on the House Ways and Means Committee, claiming that tax policy experts calculated the provision would “extract nearly $1.7 billion in taxes from the charitable sector over 10 years.”
Jackson joined the following in signing the letter: Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; William C. Daroff, senior vice president for public policy of the Jewish Federations of America and Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.
According to Catholic Philly.com, the letter mentioned a finding by an Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability official who said the provision “effectively creates an income tax on churches for the first time in U.S. history,” claiming houses of worship and nonprofits would have “to file tax returns for the first time in our nation’s history.”