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House Passes Bill to Free Pastors from IRS Muzzle and Shield Churches from Accidental New Tax

12-21-2018

The US House of Representatives has voted to repeal a law that's used to penalize churches and other religious groups.

Lawmakers voted to overturn what's known as the Johnson Amendment as part of a larger bill extending tax relief and protecting retirement savings. It's called the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018.

The Johnson Amendment allows the IRS to muzzle pastors and Christian ministries by auditing them and withholding tax exempt status from nonprofits that speak out about politics. 

Faith and Freedom Coalition's Ralph Reed says, "Repealing the Johnson Amendment will restore the right to political speech by pastors, churches and ministries."

The measure also clarifies that churches need not pay taxes on employee benefits such as parking spots.

"This bill protects churches and charities from being forced to pay $1.7 billion in taxes for transportation benefits over the next decade. These taxes would be devastating for churches-- many of whom will be required for the first time to file tax returns," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

As CBN News has reported, that potential tax on churches parking spots and transportation was accidentally created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year.

Perkins also points out the bill also has a pro-life component. "Additionally, this bill will recognize unborn children for the first time ever in the tax code, allowing parents, grandparents, or other relatives to open 529 educational savings accounts for an unborn child," he said.

With the legislative session winding down, it's not clear if the Senate will take action of the bill though. And similar legislation repealing the Johnson Amendment passed last year but was stripped from the final version of the bill in the Senate.

 

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