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Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Commends Introduction of Legislation to Protect Houses of Worship, Religious Day Schools and other Nonprofits from New Tax Burden

Posted on August 2, 2018 In Press Releases, Family Friendly Tax Policy

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, commends Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) as well as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for introducing bills to protect America’s synagogues and other houses of worship as well as K-12 religious schools and other nonprofits from paying new and unprecedented taxes and the resulting compliance costs.

The Lessening Impediments from Taxes (LIFT) for Charities Act (H.R. 6460) was introduced in the House by Rep. Walker in July and in the Senate by Sen. Lankford on  Aug. 1. It will repeal a section added to the tax code in last year’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act that would for the first time require nonprofit organizations to pay federal taxes on employee fringe benefits such as parking and transportation subsidies. Sen. Cruz’s Protect Charities and Houses of Worship Act (S.3317), also introduced Wednesday, would repeal this new provision.

The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center is among those leading a coalition of faith community and nonprofit sector organizations in opposition to the new tax provision and has held and led recent meetings with key officials at the White House and with U.S. Representatives and Senators. Earlier this week, the OU Advocacy Center began a campaign to encourage people to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives to repeal the new taxes.

Said Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center’s Executive Director:
“The Orthodox Union is fully committed to working to have these onerous and unnecessary taxes repealed.  Synagogues and other houses of worship would be required to file federal tax returns with the IRS for the first time in their history – this would be an unprecedented entanglement of the IRS with the operations of these religious institutions. Moreover, with regard to the K-12 schools in our community (and the many nonprofits across all communities), this new tax could amount to many thousands of dollars on an annual basis that have not been budgeted for and will hamper operations.”

Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:

“We are grateful for the leadership of Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) for stepping forward to keep our religious institutions and charities not only insulated from improper entanglement, but supported in their charitable works by the government. We urge Congress to pass this legislation immediately.”