Thursday, December 6, 2012
ECFA to IRS: "Hands off the church! (But can you help us out with this Kenneth Copeland character?)"
The Washington Post reports that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has urged the IRS to become more involved in addressing "outlier" ministries that are not otherwise being held financially accountable. Among the suggestions: ensure that compensation for leaders of nonprofits is "reasonable." (Please correct me if I'm misreading the actual recommendations, as I've only read the news coverage of the recommendations.)
The ECFA's actions suggest an interesting question: should fans of tax exemptions for churches nevertheless encourage the IRS to crack down on churches that appear to "abuse" the exemption, or is that headed down a dangerous path? And if the tax exemption reflects a jurisdictional distinction between church and state, should the state have anything to say about how "reasonable" the church leaders' salaries are?