NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Friday the 3rd of August, 2018.
Glad to have you along for today’s episode of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Next, an update to a story we brought you last month. Churches and charities were surprised to learn the new tax law may mean they have to file tax returns for the first time.
Well, lawmakers are now filing legislation to change that. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has the details.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: This year churches and other nonprofits have been scrambling to figure out the implications of an overlooked provision in the GOP tax reform bill. It applies to “non-compensated income” for church employees.
Regardless of actual tax liability, many churches and nonprofits face the task of filing tax returns for the first time. Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma says that’s a mistake.
LANKFORD: Well, most of these nonprofits, by definition, are not set up to actually turn in tax information, so they don’t do a return every year. Now they’ll have to do a return, and they’ll have to track what is the cost of a parking space and such. It increases complexity tremendously.
Lankford says this is an unintended consequence of the tax overhaul.
LANKFORD: We’re trying to push back on that and say that should not be there. We shouldn’t have nonprofits have to turn in tax forms and they shouldn’t have to chase down what does it mean to have the value of a parking spot for their employees. So we’re trying to just get that cut off.
This week Lankford introduced legislation called the Lessening Impediments from Taxes for Charities Act—otherwise called the LIFT Act. Lankford partnered with Congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina, who introduced a House version of the bill last month.
In a statement Walker said the legislation just makes sense.
WALKER: It has been found that government spends roughly 70% of a tax dollar to get 30% of resources to the people who need it. Conversely, charities and churches spend only 30% of every dollar to get 70% of their resources to people who need their help the most.
But Lankford told me some lawmakers are divided on the issue.
LANKFORD: There are some that would say this is just part of the tax code change and so they’re not going to pay attention to it.
Despite the apathy in some quarters, Lankford expects the LIFT Act to pass by November or December.
LANKFORD: I don’t anticipate it’s going to be much earlier than that, but I think it’s going to be one of those areas we fight all the way to the end, and I anticipate us winning it in the end and say this was definitely not an intended consequence.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.