ECFA, an accreditation organization dedicated to Christian ministry stewardship, has been closely following the court case brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) opposing the clergy housing exclusion for clergy providing their own residences. In November 2013, the district court ruled that the exclusion was unconstitutional as it lacked a secular purpose and effect.
In January 2014, the Department of Justice indicated the federal government will appeal the district court’s decision. The federal government stands behind the constitutionality of the law.
Because the case is in appeal, the prior decision will be stayed until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit makes a decision. Read more about it here.
ECFA, an accreditation organization dedicated to Christian ministry stewardship, has been closely following the court case brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) opposing the clergy housing exclusion for clergy providing their own residences. The court ruled that the exclusion was unconstitutional as it lacked a secular purpose and effect.
Clergy residing in congregational-provided housing are not impacted by the ruling as it applies only to ministers who receive a cash housing allowance from their employers. According to ECFA, “Even ministers who receive a cash housing allowance will not be immediately impacted by the ruling. The district court’s decision on the clergy housing exlusion may be appealed by the government’s attorneys to the Seventh Circuit where it could be overturned.”
However, ECFA cautions that if it is not overturned, the ruling could lead to thousands of dollars in additional taxes each year for clergy with retired clergy being hit particularly hard due to limited income.
Two additional cases are awaiting final rulings in the same court. From the ECFA website: “One suit would lift the current church exemption from annually filing Form 990, alleging that the exemption constitutes preferential treatment of churches and other religious organizations, while discriminating against other nonprofit organizations. In the other case, FFRF has sued the Internal Revenue Service over enforcement of the tax code’s campaign prohibition against churches.”
Read more here.
In January 2011, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, asked the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) to facilitate responses on policy issues related to financial accountability for religious nonprofits. The result was the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations. Join us on Monday, June 17, 2013 for a timely discussion about possible policy changes that may impact you. Register Here.
Rob Eby, CPA of Aronson, LLC, will be leading a discussion about the Commission’s findings and how the policy changes will impact you, including:
About the Forum:
The forum is FREE, but registration is required.
Project Bridges Ministry Renewal Forums are designed to address pertinent ministry issues and to provide an opportunity to network and obtain strategic informational updates with governmental, community and faith-based leaders.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Friday, May 31
First Baptist Church of Glenarden Ministry Center
3600 Brightseat Road | Landover, MD 20785
DATE: Monday, June 17, 2013
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
For More Information:
The first 50 people to register for this webinar using promo code CompSet will receive a $10 discount.
Find out more and register here.
Allegations of fraud or financial mismanagement of religious organizations has cast a pall on the vast majority of faith-based nonprofits operating with integrity and accountability. However, by working together to adhere to best practices, the nonprofit community can have a positive impact on public perception. Most importantly, a commitment to compliance and self-regulation will help you achieve your mission and attract donors.
Senator Charles Grassley asked ECFA to lead an effort to provide input on key policy issues related to financial accountability in the religious nonprofit sector. ECFA, in response, formed the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations to offer suggestions on how we can work together to improve accountability and preserve the great work that is being done each day.
Join Aronson LLC nonprofit expert Rob Eby, CPA on February 28th for a webinar discussion on these important topics:
Register today to reserve your spot at this free and convenient online presentation!