idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
It has nothing to do with the "don't pay taxes" and everything to do with the 'Set a definition for "nonprofit."'
I agree with that as well. I wasn't sure which direction you were going with the loopholes (since that doesn't really apply). I went in the direction of abusing the status, but qualifying for it works as well. In either case, we're really talking about the same thing, just from different directions. Someone is either using the funds in a manner consistent with the intent of the non-profit status, or they are not. But as I said, it's sometimes difficult to determine this, because it often comes down to degrees. Obviously, the folks working for the non-profit should draw a salary for their work. But how much is ok, and how much is too much? Who gets to decide this? And many non-profits require travel. How expensive of a plane is too much? Is it really an excess or a savings in the long run? How about cars? Buildings? Other assets? And yeah, this gets tricky when dealing with things like homes as well, and this is something we often associate with religious non-profits (cause nuns and priests often live in the rectory or other buildings, so where do you draw the line?).
As I said, it's something we can usually look at and subjectively say "that's excessive". But it's harder to codify. And in the absence of firm guidelines you run the risk of those things being applied capriciously and selectively.
The reality is that this is not something that's politically worthwhile for either party. Particularly since the party that most cares (the Right), have the most to lose (Evangelicals), though that's very particular by state. There's no chance in hell of a Republican ever seriously fighting to tax churches. You'll only see the right go after non-religious institutions, which I have a serious problem with.
For the record, super-blue Philadelphia is conducting a review of the tax-exempt status of UPenn (IIRC), because they want to update the current status of tax exempt status for their property holdings, to hold them responsible for any buildings not put to an appropriate use for the status (meaning, not fundamental to, and/or in keeping with, their nonprofit mission).
This may well be because I haven't heard of it, but when was the last time the Right called for a review of <insert insanely rich evangelical preacher> regarding whether or not his mansion was covered under the management and mission of a nonprofit?
You should read the links in BD's "exhibit A" then. Nearly all of the links were to christian sites talking about the problem. The investigation of 6 super rich evangelists for potential fraud was initiated by Charles Grassley, a Republican.
It's a problem that can present within any organization, regardless of political orientation. And there are people who don't like it, also regardless of political orientation. Oh. And let me add something as well. I think you are grossly misunderstanding just how many left leaning non-profits there are out there. I don't know which "side" has more, but I don't agree with your assessment that the Right "most cares" about this. And that's doubly true if we're talking about the political angle. A lot of the religious non-profits are apolitical, with followers of all political persuasions. It's when we get into advocacy groups, social services groups, unions, pensions, universities, etc that we hit the really really big number of non-profits, and I suspect that most of those lean left, not right.
That's because he didn't agree. He recognizes loopholes are an issue, but thinks the better solution is to consider nonprofits themselves as the issue, because it's easier to legislate for.
No (unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "consider nonprofits themselves as the issue"). I just think it's harder to legislatively close loopholes than it appears. I agree with the whole "let's audit these organizations more frequently" approach. However, I want such decisions to audit and the criteria used to be consistent. I think we can both agree that while there are fair and honest people on both sides who do want to simply curb ridiculous abuses of our non-profit status, there are also people on both sides who would use whatever legal means are at their disposal to attack the other sides organizations. The recent IRS vs Tea Party stuff on this very question of tax status would seem to be relevant here. Edited, Aug 14th 2013 3:51pm by gbaji Edited, Aug 14th 2013 3:57pm by gbaji