Judge Strikes Down Housing Tax Break for Pastors

(UPDATED) Longstanding IRS exemption—last revised after Rick Warren dispute in 2002—currently saves pastors and other clergy $700 million per year.

Update (Nov. 25): Richard Hammar, senior editor of CT sister publication Church Law & Tax Report, offers five takeaways from Friday's housing allowance ruling, including his thoughts on the ruling's limited yet significant impact and a possible workaround available to Congress.

His advice while the appeals process shakes out: "Churches should continue to designate housing allowances for ministerial employees for 2014, and church pension plans should continue to designate housing allowances for retired ministers."

Meanwhile, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) stated the decision is "sending shockwaves through the religious community, ... leaving many ministers wondering what the impact of this case will be." ECFA's take:

"This ruling [if not overturned] in effect would force clergy of nearly every religion across America to pay additional taxes, regardless of faith or creed. This will either force congregations ...
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