IRS=Establishment of Religion??????

That’s one I have not heard before. Where did they come up with that one?
Granted, a lot of people do take the Lord’s name in vain when discussing the IRS, but that’s not really the same thing.

Apparently the missing bit is, “…and it’s against my religion to pay taxes…”

Is there a signup form for this relgion on the Intarweb? Can you link?

Just go ahead and say it three times and there you go. Bear in mind that you can expect to be martyred for your faith

I always figured the argument centered on the tax-exempt status of churches.

I’m not sure this is what you have in mind, but it’s not as simple as it seems. The most widely known of the mail order churches is the Universal Life Church in Modesto, California. Old Rev. Hensley, in founding the church, said that one did not need to go to some fancy college to preach to the world. I’m not sure how it’s done now, but before the internet, you could send a free will donation and your information to the ULC, and they would ordain you as a minister. Give 'em an address and the names of the officers of your church, and you get another certificate sanctifying that place as a church.

That’s all quite legal, and all 50 states accept ministers ordained in other states. You can perform marriages and other ministerial stuff, and it’s fine with your state.

If you want tax-exempt status, it gets more complicated. If your church is your house, or if it’s the True Light Body Shop the other 6 days of the week, the tax folks are going to want to see records of attendance, services, and offerings to make sure you, the rev, aren’t pulling a fast one. If the church is just you, your sweetie, and a couple of your drinking buddies, and your service consists of you waking up on Sunday to groan, “Oh, Jesus,” the IRS might not accept that. Get some competent tax advice (NOT a tax rebel) before starting your tax-exempt life.

While this is all true, it’s not really got anything to do with income tax. Even for Father Ted (uh, if he was American), only the income from the church is tax-exempt. The income from his side gig as a flamenco dancer is taxable.

So the only income you could possibly make as a clergy member of ULC would be from weddings, funerals, etc., and if unrelated to church, then those same funds would only be taxable if you made more than $600 from one source in one year. I don’t know anyone who charges that for officiating a wedding.

I don’t claim wedding payment as income because it’s less than $600 (usually $5 and/or gas money, whichever is more), not because I’m a tax-exempt priest.

Any income from your day job is still taxable, clergy or not.

Hijack- I can understand that rate if you’re doing it for friends or Circle-members, but if it’s for people I casually know or if I have to take a day off work to do it, I’ve taken to charging $50.

All that is well and good, but I was thinking more of the fact that churches, however defined, are tax-exempt at all. There are plenty of people who believe (or will at least assert loudly) that the very fact of recognizing and exempting churches at all is an unconstitutional establishment of religion, and the IRS is therefore in violation of the First Amendment. Presumably that would mean that we shouldn’t pay any taxes at all to such a vile and illegal body.

I ain’t sayin’ it’s a logical argument in any way, mind. But I thought that was how some of the reasoning went.