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Filing Tax Returns On Your Tithes And Charitable Gifts, Is It Ok In God's Eyes?

At the end of the year, folks who have been paying their tithes and contributing to charity usually get a report detailing their contributions for tax purposes. I even understand that there are some who view charity giving as an avenue to dodge the high taxes usually imposes on high income earners in America. So, in essence that defeats the underlying reason to donate to charity, which is to assist the underpriviliged with no ulterior motives. But with regards to paying tithes and then filing taxes to claim part of it back from the government, is it acceptable in the eyes of God or not?

What do you think?

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Hi debosky and thread,

Narrowing it down to the states relationship with the church, my position is that the state has no role. Seperation. Even where there stated aims are the same, the motivation and often the means will almost certainly be different.

May I ask what in your view are the main elements or who are the main players in the "world system"? As we both acknowledge it exists, there may ultimately be some convergence in our positions.

The church does not need the government to ensure probity within it. When the Lord says He is coming for a bride without spot, blemish or wrinkle and that he will build His church (His bride), I don't believe there was anything to indicate He would use the state to ensure her chastity or moral/spiritual purity.

Indeed, the government is unable to truly do so, as its idea of what probity is differs from the churchs and like I mentioned earlier, whilst the aims may seem identical, motivation and means will differ.

tbc

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@ TV

where we disagree is on the role of the state as it were.

In my view, it is the 'world system' (in which the state may or may not be the prime player) that is the enemy of the church, not the government in the sense of seeking probity and accountability. The mentions of Babylon and the LovePeddler are references to a world system, not the state or government per se - the endless desire for material gain, for 'progress' and the like, not the state which often is acting contrary to those forces.

While I fully agree that being unequally yoked is completely reprehensible, it now depends on where this 'authority' emanates from. If I, as both a Christian and a taxpayer request my tax funds to be given to my church, I cannot regard my money given directly to the church and my money given through the state as being materially different, as they both originate from me.

That is where I feel we differ fundamentally.

I'm a bit skeptical of that assertion - it doesn't hold true at all times. When the Spirit of the anti-Christ takes over (Now that opens another debate - has it or hasn't it?) then the ultimate aim of the state will be to prevail against the church.

However, in many jurisdictions today, in certain areas - protection of the family, and improving social conditions of the down trodden - both central church goals are identical with the aims of the state. In that regard, the state even looks up to the church for leadership in these areas.

In the final analysis, it ends up being your perception of the role of the state. The state and the 'world system' are, in my understanding, not synonymous, but that is a different discourse  altogether.

It has been very beneficial reading both JeSoul and TV01's viewpoints - we enrich each other.

God Bless.

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Wow. Great topic, even more lovely discussion! Thanks, people, for shedding so much light!

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The scriptures are deep. Some of the theme's, the nuances, the subtleties once unlocked will truly astound. If you want a plot, if its a storyline you are after, where else you gon' go?

Sometimes you catch a narrative within the narrative and its so crystal clear you think "surely everyone can see this? Sometimes its by revelation, sometimes by knowledge, by understanding, by teaching, even by chance - perhaps? You read, study, search, pray, listen. But when you hear, its simply chilling, when you understand its like wow!

One that runs throught the scriptural writ is the "Bride and the LovePeddler". Its told and retold and is at once ever unfolding. It runs from Genesis to Revelations, it is truly an epic. And I'm pretty convinced I still only see it in part.

"Oh - he cried- the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!"

God bless

TV

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I diasgree. And that is anathema to the whole nature of church. Church is not somewhere we go, it is what we are by virtue of our faith. That does not make us subject to anyone or anything other than Him. When it loses its essence and morphs into a religious organisation or a legally incorporated company or a charity, then, oh dear, then.

Type II outlined earlier. A state sponsored, neutered church. Not His.

When the believers "had all things in common", what would have been, should have been the states role? In the instance of Ananias and Sapphira, how should the state have intervened to a) judge what they did and b) judge the Holy Spirits sanction?

Debosky its been good discussing this and I don't want to adopt the "spiritualisation" ploy loved by many, but there are real spiritual overtones here. But they also translate practically.

Thanks again.

God bless

TV

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Not at the expense of - potential and legal - state intervention.

The church is not a law unto itself. Its His church. He leads it. I outlined the type of the "true church", "religious church" and the state typified by JTB, the Pharisees and Herod. The numerous examples in Nigeria are not the "true" type. Do they unabashedly rail against the abuse of state? No. And they can't, because thay are corrupt and compromised. John 10 says "they were concerned about losing their place" The status wealth, privilege and influence. God ke. He has nothing to do - for the most part - with what obtains in Nigeria.

Now to the true church. Is anyone sold out to and utterly faithful to God - to the point of death - due to state intervention? If state intervention - even without a yoke - sorted out church finances, would it speak to holiness, purity, faithfulness, zeal, salvation or anything that is at the heart of true church? No. Incorporation, tax credits and silver in any guise is about compromise, subjection and control. A strong unaligned church is too much of a threat to the state .

tbc.

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I appreciate that. And may I also say your position is well thought out and articulated. For an individual charitable giving and tax reclaims in no way change the individual/state dynamic, for a church it does.

And that is a good thing. The money is subject, not how the church utilises it, or more importantly preaches. The church is subject to some and some are actually beneficial, but not where the church is yoked and compromised.

Again you are right and I am not saying that the church should. I have cited how churches are compromised in their preaching due to charity commission and ultimately government policy.

If they church could not be subject due to being unequally yoked, the government would have to persecute them in order to compromise their message. That would be game on!

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Close to my position, but I would that churches do not seek any kind of legal incorporation and believers make any church - as opposed to charitable - giving out of after tax income.

The church will of course in some respects be "subject" to general laws. We mentioned zoning, planning etc. But not yoked by specific ones aimed at neutering them.

Do any of the Nigerian MOGS have a record of railing against the abuses Nigerias politicians subject its citizens to? Or are they somehow yoked, acquiescent and really part of the problem? The scriptural narrative is clear. The theme's unmistakable.

tbc

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I agree, so is ensuring that tax revenue to which all citizens contribute continues to be used in the most judicious way possible - that involves not causing offence.

Well maybe, but this 'sovereignty' you are proposing might lead to the same type of mistakes - the church cannot be a law unto itself when it comes to things like finances - the opportunity for abuse is immense. See Nigeria for numerous examples.

A gathering of individuals cannot but be under the state in some shape or form - churches are permitted by the state, while other groupings are not, so I don't know if you can avoid being subject to the state in that regard.

Not quite - for a while that was true, but the church was effectively promoted when it became the official Roman belief system. There should be clear demarcations and the use of tax returns or any other income (originating from the individual in the end) MUST be managed properly to avoid undue scrutiny from the state, whether friendly or malevolent.

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1. That is rendering unto Ceasar. Planning, zoning, noise restictions. It is also not causing offence and being at peace with all.

2. It was precisely because the Catholic Church' interplay with the state and political inclinations that that happened.

The church should not be subject to, yoked with or seek the power of.

One last point. The church/state interplay is a resonating scrpitural theme. And the state has always persecuted the true church.

Thanks for your response.

God bless

TV

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Agreed for an individual. I use it to donate to humanitarian crises. Its slightly different in that the money is donated tax free so there's no reclaim, but its essentially the same and I do it. I don't think church should.

I appreciate your position here. But should the church need to b regulated by the state? It doesn't prevent wrongdoing, only seeks to penalise where it has occured. Who asks an outsider to chasten his wife?

tbc

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Give to ceasers what is ceasers and give to God what belongs to him, if the law accommodates it, then, go ahead.

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but Usually when I give to SA I dont think about it being dediicated to God , Im just like I dont wanna waste it.

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 My question is this:

    is all our giving motivated by Christ? then you're giving to God be it the church or the SA.

   Now, your giving can also be motivated by Christ - i.e. giving to the SA etc but you're not really giving because you're expecting and getting something in return. I just want to make that distinction.

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Well chuch is church and the way I lookat Salvation Army is that someone needs it way more than me, and why be wasteful throwing it away?

Why pile up landfills when u can donate your old doors to Habitat for Humanity?

Or burn ur old blankets when the homeless would like them?

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If our giving is motivated by Christ, then regardless of whether its the local church or the local Salvation army - you're still giving to God.

   

    But if our giving is motivated by getting some cheddar back from Uncle Sam then I guess we shouldn't be calling it "giving". But I think you and Debosky are 100% right that it comes down to motive I guess . . . and only God can truly assess that.

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When i think of stuff like this it makes me remember the Ananias and Sapphira story. If you're giving to God in the hope of paying less taxes then i think you need to re-evaluate your MOTIVE for "giving". The bible says God loves a cheerful giver. I do not wish to "give" and get a receipt for it that i can then use to game the government into taking less from me.

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I part run an org at my college, we can get free money from the school to put on our shows and events, but there's red tape, procedures, limitations etc. After doing it once, we shoved it aside and went back to doing car washes to raise money. Sometimes getting a free check from the govt/school is not worth it and I'm so glad that God is not interested in how much money we can gather for Him.

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Man, if I donate old clothes to goodwill or salvation army, you better believe that I will itemize it. I have learnt a lesson the hard way, some of the stuff, they turn around and sell it and the money goes into the organization. So, it's not as if most of these clothes will be handed to recipients for free. Maybe in some cases, but I will still itemize.

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contd.

Taxes are levied by the state  - all things being equal - to develop and maintain infrastructure for the good of all. Church goers, Christians, use whatever label you will, utilise the infrastucture and services provided like everyone else. Why would we (the church) claim tax refunds? As I pointed, out tax refunds given by the state are granted in return for control. The Church cannot serve two masters or even afford to be unequally yoked.

Let me make my point with a case known to all of us KICC was involved in a huge imbroglio with the state here about use of its funds. Now please, let me make this clear; I do not discuss, people, personalities, denominations or sects per se. Doctine yes, policy sure, my walk absolutely. This is not an opinion on the church or their leader. This is merely to illustrate my position.

So my point is that the reason the state could intervene and rule was because of what I see as a adulterous monetary relationship. Like someone said, "he'd rather give cash". If we as say a NL church meet and pool whatever amount of our post tax income and do whatever with it. No one govermental, corporate, legal or whatever has the right to interfere or rule over what we do. Led by the Holy Spirit only. Subject to one Lord only. tbc.

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Hallelujah!

I have waited patiently for this day and in truth, I am still somewhat wary. I have always wanted to press the issue of tithing beyond the doctrinal to the practical and further to the spiritual implications. One of the ploys of mandatory tithe proponents - wittingly or unwittingly - has been to keep the conversation revolving around if its an open and shut case of yes or no.

I have longed for us to discuss more expansively and take on the whole of Christian giving, use of money, examples in the scriptural narrative, meaning to the church as a body and as the bride. How, why, what for, when, to whom. The question posed here is but one of the many sub-theme's that should have emanated from that convo, but we simply never got there - or we just hindered from doing so. Whenever there's a crime, the police always look for the money trail. Sometimes, if you follow the money trail, you'll discover the crime.

"Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasars"

I am not sure of the details of what obtains in the US, but let me touch on what I am familiar with here in the UK. For a Church to be in a position to claim tax back on charitable giving, they have to "register" as a charity. This leads to what any "smart" thinking person would welcome which is tax relief. Makes sense right? No, because it also brings you under the aegis of the charities commission - the state regulator of charities - and you will recieve your tax refunds on "charitable donations", but you become yoked to the state. Subject to its laws. tbc.

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Yeah, you "tithe" that refund but get a receipt from the church . . . so you get it back from the government at the end of the yr and the charade continues.

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lol this was one of the points i raised on the Haiti hysteria thread. Everyone is signing up to "give" to Haiti but expecting to get it back from the US government at the end of the year . . . so much for "charity".

At my church most give through envelopes where the church then sends you a reciept for your "tithe" and "offering". I prefer to give cash . . . as far as i'm concerned . . . tithes and offerings are what you shld be joyful to part with for the sake of the kingdom. Not using the Lord as an avenue to scam the government.

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This is news to me. Well, i guess it a way of making more money. You just have to tithe the refund from the Government which is an additional income or it will amount to short-changing the Almighty. Such income might be acceptable to God though.

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I wonder why nobody has touched this yet?

Ndipe, you're right. It never made sense to me. Here in America we give to charity/churches, only to get it back on our tax refunds. The donations people are giving to Haiti now, some can get it back, donations to the Salvation army (be it money, clothes, cars etc) you can get it back. Is it really giving if your mind is fixed on getting it back through the government?

I signed up once for it at my church. When I got the paper in the mail at the end of the year I said to myself, is this really giving? I tore it up and cancelled my name off the list.

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