April 3, 2019

ALERT: Pastors and Churches Win Major Victory in Housing Allowance Court Case

By Curtis Farmer, Alliance Benefits

On March 15th, our Alliance Official Workers were the recipients of some very welcomed news related to a highly critical court case that has jeopardized a major tax benefit for our ministers over the last several years.  The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a 2017 ruling from the lower district court that had previously ruled a minister’s housing allowance exclusion from federal taxes as unconstitutional.  This important tax exclusion has been under heavy fire thanks to a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) who argued that this exclusion was a direct endorsement of religion by the government. The appeals court, however, ruled that this exclusion is similar to other benefits in the federal tax code for work-related housing and did not violate church and state separation or endorse religion in any particular way. At this point, the FFRF has not indicated that they will appeal this ruling, though that option remains on the table.  That being said, this ruling is an extremely important one and we are certainly thankful for the Lord’s continued provision for our pastors around the U.S.

 

Curtis joined as Director for Alliance Benefits in September of 2017. He is responsible for the overall administration and direction of all aspects of Alliance Benefits, including the health and retirement plans for Alliance workers in the United States and internationally. His desire is to serve our districts and churches in helping to care for our pastors and staff.


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