Challenges to Federal Income Tax Exemption of the Clergy and Government Support of Sectarian Schools Through Tax Credits Device and the Unresolved Questions After Arizona v. Winn: Is the U.S. Supreme Court Standing in the Way of Taxpayer Standing to Seek Meritorious Redress?
Part II of the article begins with a critical examination of the parsonage exemption Act as was originally conceived at inception, the expansion and modification of the Act over the years, and the current statutory framework of the exemption under the Internal Revenue Code ("Code"). Part III evaluates who is considered a minister of the gospel within the meaning of the Code, and whether a minister of the gospel may obtain a parsonage exemption for more than one home at a time. Part IV discusses the various attempts to rid the Code of the parsonage exemption. In this part, the article analyzes the Federal District Court's ruling in FFRF v. Geithner allowing taxpayers standing to challenge the constitutionality of the parsonage exemption and the subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona that led to the voluntary dismissal by stipulation of FFRF v. Geithner. Part V scrutinizes the underpinnings of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Arizona and queries, among others, whether Arizonians really "spend their own money" when they contribute to STOs and receive state tax credits in exchange for their contributions. The article contends that the premise of the ruling is superficial, flawed, incorrect, not logical or principled, and the author sides with the dissent that taxpayers should have been accorded standing under Flast to pursue their claims on the merits. Part VI examines the recurring question of whether the parsonage exemption violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution under the Lemon enunciation, and argues that it does. Part VII concludes that the U.S. Supreme Court is resolved to standing in the way of taxpayer standing to seek meritorious redress of alleged government support of religion through tax devices by holding that (1) when "a government expends resources or declines to impose a tax, its budget does not necessarily suffer" to confer Article III standing upon taxpayer, and (2) that because "respondents challenge a tax credit as opposed to government expenditure, they lack Article III standing under Flast v. Cohen."
Aitsebaomo, Gabriel O.
"Challenges to Federal Income Tax Exemption of the Clergy and Government Support of Sectarian Schools Through Tax Credits Device and the Unresolved Questions After Arizona v. Winn: Is the U.S. Supreme Court Standing in the Way of Taxpayer Standing to Seek Meritorious Redress?,"
Akron Tax Journal: Vol. 28
, Article 1.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akrontaxjournal/vol28/iss1/1