A case is making its way through the courts that involves a subsidy clergy receive for their housing. Joel Osteen owns million dollar homes. He can deduct their cost from his income tax. Jimmy Swaggart lists almost no net worth on net worth sites except for three expensive homes. I assume his church gives him an allowance to maintain these homes and he pays no income tax on this money. Later he can pocket the profit. We all chip in to cover these lost taxes.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation co-presidents filed for the same tax break for their home. They do not agree with the tax break but filed to make their point. They were denied. If they had been given the break most anyone anywhere would be eligible. Paraphrasing, the denial said, “If you don’t believe in any God of any kind you have to pay higher taxes.” Churches can pay their preachers less because of the tax break.
The Freedom From Religion appealed and won. The decision is yet to be implemented. Some religious groups are doing a full court press explaining the benefit does not discriminate because it is available to all religions. It has not been available to no religion.
Even if FFRF continues to win in court, I am not optimistic preachers will ever pay their fair share of income taxes. The strong arm of religion holds the levers of power.
Conservative appointees to Internal Revenue may be able to continue the tax break because the IRS has some of its own powers.