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Orthodox Union Welcomes Congressional Repeal of Unfair Tax on Houses of Worship, Other Nonprofits

Posted on December 17, 2019 In Press Releases

Today, the Orthodox Union, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomes a bipartisan tax package proposed by Congressional leaders that includes the repeal of a new tax that would cost the nation’s synagogues, other houses of worship, day schools and other nonprofits as much as $2 billion over the next 10 years.

The legislation, approved by the House and Senate and signed by President Trump in the same week, retroactively repeals a new provision enacted in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that imposed an unprecedented tax on any nonprofit that provides its employees with fringe benefits related to parking or transportation.

The provision would have entangled houses of worship with the IRS for the first time by compelling them to file federal tax reports. It also would have forced houses of worship, parochial schools and other nonprofit institutions to divert money budgeted for much-needed programs and services to pay the new tax.

For the past year, the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center has been among the leaders of a broad coalition that has pressed for repealing the tax. (OU Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Oversight Committee outlining the disruptive economic impact the provision would cause.)

Legislators who led the effort to repeal the tax were Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.); and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah).

Said OU President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“We extend our thanks to the many Members of Congress who worked with us to repeal this tax and, in doing so, helped our faith communities continue to use their funding to benefit those they serve. Taxing nonprofits on basic operating costs not only would have defeated the purpose of their nonprofit status but also represented a significant challenge to the First Amendment protections of houses of worship.”

Said OU Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament:
“We thank Sens. James Lankford, Chris Coons, Mitch McConnell, Charles Schumer, Chuck Grassley, Ron Wyden; and Speaker Pelosi, Reps. Richard Neal, James Clyburn, Tom Suozzi and Mark Walker. This was the right decision by Congress – to support our synagogues, churches, mosques and other house of worship, as well as all of America’s charities, enabling them not only to keep their doors open but also to continue to carry out their missions to provide a range of social services to those in need.”

Resources:

  • Letter from Orthodox Union Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament and other nonprofit leaders to the House Ways and Means Committee
  • Testimony by Orthodox Union Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament  to the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee
  • Jewish Exponent: Editorial | Repeal the Parking Tax