A demand from atheists that the IRS bill churches and other religious organizations a total of some $1 billion would violate freedom of worship and destroy many congregations, a new court brief contends.
In a case now at the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, churches are seeking to overturn a stunning district court decision by Judge Barbara Crabb.
At issue is the tax exemption provided for employees whose housing is determined by their employer.
That includes pastors of Christians churches and leaders of congregations of other faiths, often referred to as the parsonage allowance.
It provides that a housing allowance is not considered taxable income when the house is for the convenience of the employer. While pastors do benefit, the tax deduction also is available for workers who live overseas, employees of educational institutes, any member or former member of the uniformed services, government workers living overseas, any American citizen living