Churches and use tax sequel

The local daily reports the state Department of Revenue isn’t going to make churches get tax licenses to pay use tax on items they purchase out of state. That seems a reasonable approach.

Even individuals owe use tax on items they purchase out-of-state but use in-state if no sales tax is charged at the point of purchase (e.g., book purchases from Amazon). While I imagine the number of us actually paying use tax is minuscule (a term that probably still exaggerates the number), no one needs a tax license to remit payment if their tax obligation stems only from casual or occasional transactions. The DOR apparently is simply going to send churches the same form you or I would use to pay use tax.

Seems that was the simplest solution to begin with. Instead, the DOR created an uproar by talking about requiring churches to have tax licenses. While the churches were wrong to claim licensure or payment violates the First Amendment, the items upon which the state seeks to collect use tax certainly seem to be occasional compared to the main function and activities of the churches. As such, it seems eminently sensible to take the easiest and simplest path to a solution.

I’m not against God. I’m against the Misuse of God.

Marilyn Manson, Raygun Magazine, Dec./Jan. 1998

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2 comments to Churches and use tax sequel

  • The passage about church and state in the Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law…” To my knowledge, it is the state and/or the municipal government that levys taxes on my property and purchases. While most state constitutions echo these sentiments, I know of no mandate that they do so. How big of a business does organized religion have to be before it is recognized as an abuse of the tax-exempt status? Also, if I had a dollar for every unconstitutional town ordinance in effect in this country, I could take a long vacation. Tax the churches!

  • Tim

    You miss the point. The churches will be required to pay use tax. The simply will do so using the same form as anyone else who only occasionally has to pay use tax rather than having a sales tax license.