Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Welcomes Legislation to Protect Houses of Worship and Other Nonprofits from Unfair Tax, Urges House to Take Swift Action

Posted on February 14, 2019 In Charities, Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomes the introduction today of legislation to protect America’s synagogues, other houses of worship, parochial schools and other nonprofits from having to pay a first-ever tax on employee fringe benefits such as parking and transportation subsidies.

The “Stop the Tax Hike on Charities and Places of Worship Act” sponsored by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), will repeal a section added to last year’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act that could potentially cost individual synagogues, Jewish day schools and other charitable entities tens of thousands of dollars annually in both taxes and compliance costs. Some estimates put the collective cost at $1.7 billion over the next 10 years.

The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center has been among those leading a coalition of faith community and nonprofit sector organizations opposed to the new tax provision and has held and led meetings with key officials at the White House and both U.S. representatives and senators. [Read the Orthodox Union’s letter to Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin here.]

Orthodox Union Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament stated:
“We at the Orthodox Union have been working aggressively to overturn this untenable and onerous provision in the new tax code. Our houses of worship, day schools and the entire charitable sector are unprepared to suddenly file a new set of tax forms – many for the first time — and otherwise become ensnared with the IRS. This is a waste of time and precious resources for them and must be remedied immediately.”

Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:
“We are immensely grateful to Rep. Clyburn for taking action and proposing this important legislation. We call on the new Congress to act swiftly and pass this bill so that our synagogues, schools and other charitable organizations can keep their focus on helping people.”