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Jay Guin on the housing allowance!

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  • Robert Baty
    ... http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/#more-3972 The Housing Allowance: Do Christian College
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 15, 2009
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      ------------Forwarded Article-------------

      http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/#more-3972

      The Housing Allowance: Do Christian College Professors Qualify?

      Posted on March 15, 2009 by Jay Guin

      April 15 is fast approaching, and so it’s time to answer a question posed to me regarding the housing allowance for ministers.

      Reader and frequent commenter Robert Baty brought this issue to my attention.

      Robert is a retired IRS examiner.

      I’m a tax attorney.

      We sometimes disagree.

      That’s the nature of things.

      But we are both concerned that Christians honor the tax laws, as Paul commanded in Romans 13 — and we’ve both seen abuses by Christians and even Christian ministers.

      This is a lengthy, fairly technical discussion, because, well, the law is pretty difficult to interpret. But it’s important far beyond Christian college professors. Nearly the identical issue comes up with any parachurch organization, such as a preschool, Christian primary school, inner city ministry, foster care ministry, nonprofit publishing house, etc.

      Background

      Some time ago, I posted material on figuring the “housing allowance” that ministers of the gospel qualify for. This is a major tax advantage, because ministers may exclude from income the portion of their wages paid as a housing allowance and actually spent on housing costs.

      Internal Revenue Code section 107 excludes from a minister’s income the amount paid as a –

      > rental allowance paid to him as part
      > of his compensation, to the extent
      > used by him to rent or provide a
      > home and to the extent such allowance
      > does not exceed the fair rental value
      > of the home, including furnishings and
      > appurtenances such as a garage, plus
      > the cost of utilities

      Let’s try that in English.

      The church may designate some portion of the minister’s pay as “housing allowance.”

      On his tax return, he may exclude from his taxable income the lesser of –

      > The amount designated as a
      > housing allowance

      > The amount actually spent on
      > housing expenses, such as debt
      > service on his home mortgage,
      > utilities, insurance, and taxes

      > The fair rental value of the home
      > plus utilities

      In addition, the minister is allowed to deduct his property taxes and interest (subject to the limits on itemized deductions).

      This is double benefit and yet plainly permitted under the law.

      The law in this area is summarized in IRS Publication 517.

      Who is a “minister of the gospel”?

      Now, this rule raises all sorts of intriguing questions, one of which is just who is a “minister of the gospel.”

      This has been dealt with in regulations under Section 107 –

      > In order to qualify for the exclusion,
      > the home or rental allowance must
      > be provided as remuneration for
      > services which are ordinarily the
      > duties of a minister of the gospel. …

      > Examples of specific services the
      > performance of which will be
      > considered duties of a minister for
      > purposes of section 107 include

      >> the performance of sacerdotal
      >> functions,

      >> the conduct of religious worship,

      >> the administration and maintenance
      >> of religious organizations and their
      >> integral agencies,

      >> and the performance of teaching
      >> and administrative duties at
      >> theological seminaries.

      Now, in Churches of Christ it’s particularly difficult to define “minister of the gospel,” as we don’t draw a clear line between laity and clergy.

      We normally don’t even ordain our ministers in any formal sense.

      For example, “sacerdotal functions” refers to administering baptism or communion — but we generally allow any male member to do either, and some churches allow any female members to baptize outside the assembly.

      However, we do have a tradition or culture that refers to some church officials as a “minister” and not others. The church secretary is not the “minister of typing.”

      Conventionally, we limit the title “minister” to the preacher, the youth minister, the campus minister, and a few others, such as a children’s minister, a “minister of involvement,” or “minister of spiritual formation.”

      A decent more-or-less objective standard for who is a minister would be to look at Abilene Christian’s annual survey of ministers’ salaries to see what titles show up on the list.

      An eldership or other employer should prudently

      > (1) specify the housing allowance in
      > advance of each tax year (retroactive
      > or verbal designations aren’t
      > recognized by the IRS)

      and

      > (2) designate the minister as “ordained” > to ministry in a contract or job
      > description. And elders should only
      > designate staff who are truly thought
      > of as ministers, to avoid impeaching
      > the legitimacy of their designations.

      The regulations under Section 107 incorporate the regulations under section 1402 (dealing with Social Security), which give a stricter definition of who qualifies. To be a minister of the gospel, one must be –

      > a duly ordained, commissioned, or
      > licensed minister of a church.

      The regulations then provide,

      > If a minister is performing service for
      > an organization which is operated as
      > an integral agency of a religious
      > organization under the authority of
      > a religious body constituting a church
      > or church denomination, all service
      > performed by the minister in the
      > conduct of religious worship, in the
      > ministration of sacerdotal functions,
      > or in the control, conduct, and
      > maintenance of such organization
      > (see subparagraph (2)(ii) of this
      > paragraph) is in the exercise of his
      > ministry. The application of this rule
      > may be illustrated by the following
      > example:

      >> Example. M, a duly ordained minister,
      >> is engaged by the N Religious Board
      >> to serve as director of one of its
      >> departments. He performs no other
      >> service. The N Religious Board is an
      >> integral agency of O, a religious
      >> organization operating under the
      >> authority of a religious body
      >> constituting a church denomination.
      >> M is performing service in the exercise >> of his ministry.

      Thus, it’s all-the-more clear that the minister needs to be in some sense ordained.

      But it’s also the rule that a “minister” doesn’t have to be working for a church.

      He may be working for any “integral agency” of a “church or church denomination.”

      In the Churches of Christ, we have no denominational hierarchy. We have no convention.

      How does a religious organization come to qualify as an integral agency of the Churches of Christ — or is it even possible?

      Is a Christian college an integral agency of a religious organization?

      Some years ago, one of our colleges applied for a ruling from the IRS determining whether they qualify as an “integral agency” of the Churches of Christ. In Revenue Ruling 70-549, the IRS found,

      > Although the church lacks a central
      > governing body by which it can
      > exercise direct control over its
      > institutions, the college is most rigidly
      > and continuously governed and
      > controlled by the board of directors
      > who are, in turn, under the control
      > of the elders of the church in which
      > they have their membership. The
      > requirement in the college charter that
      > each director must be a member in
      > good standing of a congregation of
      > the church is a method of indirect
      > control which in this case is as effective
      > as having a central governing agency to > control the college. Every teacher is a
      > member of the church in good standing > and a majority of the students are
      > members of the church. Further, all
      > subjects taught at the college, whether
      > in natural science, mathematics, social
      > science, languages, etc., are taught with > emphasis on religious principles and
      > religious living. Furthermore, the college > trains ministers of the gospel for the
      > church, has a department of missions
      > offering a degree in this area and, in
      > general, performs all the functions for
      > ministerial training that a seminary
      > offers.

      > On the basis of these facts, it is held
      > that the college is, in practice, operated > as an integral agency of the church and > that the minister serving as head of the > department of education, and any other > minister serving on the faculty as a
      > teacher or administrator, is performing > service “in the exercise of his ministry”

      One may question whether the Churches of Christ exercise the level of control that a denominational convention or bishop might, but the fact is that our colleges have remained far truer to the churches they serve than many universities that are supposedly a part of other denominations.

      And if this ruling weren’t issued, there’d likely be no way for many of our ministers to enjoy the same tax benefits as ministers in other denominations — which is surely not the intent of Congress.

      While our universities are not overseen by elderships, they do have substantial ties with the Churches of Christ and — more importantly to my way of thinking — serve many of the same functions of a denominational convention or headquarters. ACU, for example, publishes literature targeted to the Churches, they hold lectureships at which doctrine is discussed and shaped, they host unity meetings, they train ministers and missionaries, they help ministers find jobs and churches find ministers, they assist in intracongregational conflict resolution, they train elders … and the list goes on. And the same is largely true of our other universities.

      As many if not all of the Church of Christ colleges are organized much along these lines, I’m sure, they likely qualify for the housing allowance on these terms.

      And the same would likely hold true for other kinds of parachurch organizations, provided they strictly meet the standards of this ruling and of Revenue Ruling 72-606, as interpreted in Flowers v. USA, 82-1 USTC ¶9114 (N.D. Tex. 1981) –

      1. The board of directors of the college are indirectly controlled by the church because each board member
      must be a member in good standing of the congregation.

      2. Every teacher was a member in good standing of the congregation.

      3. The majority of students are members of the church.

      4. All subjects taught at the college, whether in natural science, mathematics, social science, languages, etc.,
      are taught with emphasis on religious principles and religious living.

      5. The college had a department which performs all the functions for ministerial training that a seminary offers.

      and

      (1) whether the religious organization incorporated the institution;

      (2) whether the corporate name of the institution indicates a church relationship;

      (3) whether the religious organization continuously controls, manages, and maintains the institution;

      (4) whether the trustees or directors of the institution are approved by or must be approved by the religious
      organization or church;

      (5) whether trustees or directors may be removed by the religious organization or church;

      (6) whether annual reports of finances and general operations are required to be made to the religious
      organization or church;

      (7) whether the religious organization or church contributes to the support of the institution; and

      (8) whether, in the event of dissolution of the institution, its assets would be turned over to the religious
      organization or church.

      Notice that the second list was from a ruling not dealing with Churches of Christ, but prudently any organization would attempt to satisfy as many of those standards as possible.

      The second list would especially apply to a parachurch organization seeking qualification because it’s overseen by an eldership.

      The Flowers case involves Texas Christian University, which lost because a majority of its board is not required to be members of its denomination

      You don’t have to miss the rule by much to fail the test.

      Questions remain.

      Under the 1402 regulations, a minister’s performing of any “service for” the college that is an “integral agency” would seem to qualify.

      But the 107 regulations require the minister to be engaged in the “administration or maintenance” of the college. Hence, a department head — an administrator — is clearly within the rule, so long as he is an ordained minister and the college meets the rulings’ standards.

      The example in the 1402 regulations also deals with an administrator.

      A teacher is more problematic. A teacher clearly meets the 1402 standard, but it’s not clear that he’s involved in the “maintenance” of the college.

      Who knows what that odd choice of words really means?

      Maintenance

      Main”te*nance\, n. [OF. maintenance. See Maintain.]

      1. The act of maintaining; sustenance; support; defense; vindication.

      Whatsoever is granted to the church for God’s honor and the maintenance of his service, is granted to God. –South.

      2. That which maintains or supports; means of sustenance; supply of necessaries and conveniences.

      Those of better fortune not making learning their maintenance. –Swift.

      3. (Crim. Law) An officious or unlawful intermeddling in a cause depending between others, by assisting either party with money or means to carry it on.

      See Champerty. –Wharton.

      Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

      That definition isn’t all that helpful, is it?

      The legal meaning clearly doesn’t apply.

      The likely meaning is that the minister’s work must somehow support the religious mission of the university, and under that reading, the work of a professor would seem to qualify.

      Now the rule is a minister is qualified for the housing allowance because he’s a minister working for an agency of the church.

      One does not become a minister by teaching calculus. You must be a minister who teaches calculus.

      This conclusion is supported by the Tax Court decision in Robert D. Lawrence, 50 TC 474 (1968), dealing with a Baptist minister of education.

      Although he held the title of “minister” and had nearly the same job duties as the pastor, because he wasn’t “ordained” as a minister under Baptist practice, he didn’t qualify for the allowance — which should be a warning to Churches of Christ to be careful in their job descriptions. “Ordain” your ministers.

      The result is a peculiar one. A calculus professor at ACU who is an ordained minister can likely claim a housing allowance for part of his ACU salary — if ACU designates a portion of the salary as housing allowance in writing in advance of the calendar year.

      Another calculus professor who is not a minister cannot.

      But isn’t every member a minister?

      Churches of Christ are fond of saying, “Every member is a minister,” and that is truly our doctrinal position.

      We are so low church we deny any distinction between clergy and laity.

      Any member “in good standing” may lead worship, preside over communion, administer a baptism, or preach.

      We even allow “lay” members to officiate weddings and funerals.

      Hence, the argument that any church members may qualify as a “minister of the gospel” is not without weight.

      But I doubt seriously that it would carry enough weight to actually win in court.

      The Lawrence decision makes it clear that where a church makes distinction between ministers and others, the courts will honor that distinction.

      And we do accord certain men a special status as “ministers.”

      Moreover, Congress certainly did not intend to grant a housing allowance to all Christians.

      Think of it this way. The housing allowance is a product of the old “parsonage” practice of many churches. Even today some Churches of Christ provide a free house to the preacher.

      Section 107 makes this tax free to the preacher.

      The housing allowance is designed to give the preacher who owns his own home the same advantage as the preacher with a parsonage.

      Now, which members are of a type that a Church of Christ might provide a house to?

      Clearly, only the pulpit man and a small handful of similarly titled staff.

      Every member is a minister, but not every member gets rent-free use of a house.

      And we really do make distinctions between ministers and members, doctrine notwithstanding.

      For example, in our congregation, our ministers have a weekly meeting of the “ministers.”

      Not all church employees are invited.

      And our “ministers” have periodic retreats, and only they are invited.

      When the local churches have a lunch for ministers, only those with the title are invited. And the elders have regular meetings with the ministers, which is not true of anyone else.

      Therefore, I think we really do make a distinction between those who are hired to serve as fulltime ministers and those who are “vocational ministers.”

      And I’m concerned that if we argue that there is no distinction at all between members and ministers, the IRS will deny the housing allowance to even our preachers — and make it stick.

      As we tax lawyers like to say,

      > “Pigs get fat;
      > hogs get slaughtered.”

      Don’t ask for too much, or you may get nothing.

      College administrators would prudently limit housing allowances to those employees who are “ordained ministers” in the ordinary sense of “minister” among our churches.

      Now, this is an unexpected result.

      I mean, a Baptist minister of worship is turned down because he isn’t ordained, and an assistant basketball coach who fills a small church’s pulpit on weekend qualifies.

      Crazy, isn’t it?

      Well, it’s because the test is

      > (a) are you an ordained minister?

      and

      > (b) are you working for an integral
      > agency of your denomination?

      I can muster any number of counter-arguments (I’m a lawyer; arguing is what I do).

      But so long as there is a ruling on the books approving the head of a college’s history department for a housing allowance, this seems to be the result.

      Other applications

      Consider a minister who is an employee of another type of church agency — an orphanage, a missions support organization, a foster care program, or such.

      The same rules would seem to apply.

      If the agency meets the standards of the rulings to be an “integral agency” and if the employee is an “ordained minister,” he would seem to qualify for the housing allowance — if a part of his salary is designated as such in advance of the year.

      Caution / caveats

      Obviously, facts vary a lot from organization to organization. You can’t intelligently reach a conclusion without reviewing all the rulings, cases, and other authorities in light of a given organization’s unique situation. Hire a capable tax attorney or CPA to be sure you’re doing it right. This is merely an introduction to the complexities of the question.

      Finally,

      (Rom 13:6) This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.

      Don’t rationalize.

      Don’t violate the obvious intent of the law.

      But do take advantage of every savings Congress means for you to have.

      All legal discussions are informational only, do not create a lawyer-client relationship, and may not be relied on. Unless expressly stated otherwise on this website, (1) nothing contained in this website was intended or written to be used, can be used by any taxpayer, or may be relied upon or used by any taxpayer for the purposes of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended; (2) any written statement contained on this website relating to any federal tax transaction or matter may not be used by any person to support the promotion or marketing or to recommend any federal tax transaction or matter; and (3) any taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor with respect to any federal tax transaction or matter contained in this website. No one, without our express written permission, may use any part of this website in promoting, marketing or recommending an arrangement relating to any federal tax matter to one or more taxpayers.


      --------------------------------------------
      --------------------------------------------



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Robert Baty
      Jay, That s a pretty good, mostly generic, analysis of the issue, with some of your personal views expressed for some perspective. Historically, however, I
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 15, 2009
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        Jay,

        That's a pretty good, mostly generic, analysis of the issue, with some of your personal views expressed for some perspective.

        Historically, however, I think you fail to address many details and relevance to the "evolution" of the issue, the schools and the churches of Christ.

        As a matter of fact and law, and the informed theology of members of the church, private schools like ACU, et al, are not "integral agencies" of the churches of Christ.

        The government should respect this distinction and apply the law accordingly.

        In this case, the government has been compromised as well as the schools and the church and the law; all so those basketball coaches, et al, can register as ministers and claim tax free housing allowances.

        The available record indicates ACU was denied requested relief for its employees at least twice over a period of about 20 years leading up to 1970 This result was acknowledged as correct by the schoolmen based on the simple fact that ACU, et al, were not "integral agencies" and that was the relevant test.

        Then, during the Nixon years, George Bush and Omar Burleson went to work putting the squeeze on the IRS on behalf of some ACU employees who were caught improperly claiming the housing allowances.

        The issue might have been appropriately resolved through litigation, based on the facts and the law.

        It wasn't!

        Bush and Burleson were effective in getting the IRS to issue its opinion, Rev. Rul. 70-549 which you cited, officially recognizing ACU, et al, as being operated as "integral agencies of the churches of Christ".

        Of course, no actual church or group of churches was identified as accepting such recognition. It was just a "behind closed doors" deal.

        Revenue rulings are simply administrative opinions of the IRS as to how it intends to apply the law. Such opinions may clearly be contrary to the facts and the law and, therefore, inappropriate.

        That's the case here; 70-549 is contrary to the facts, the law and the informed theology of the members of the churches of Christ.

        ACU's founding principles require(d) that those running the organization belong to churches that didn't believe in such "supplemental organizations" as "integral agencies of the church".

        Such principles are commonly memorialized as part of the history of many, if not most, of such schools.

        George Pepperdine didn't want his school being a part of any church, and didn't want any church to try and run it.

        ACUSA founders passed, unanimously, a "landmark" (remember the recent comments on this blog regarding "landmarks") resolution noting that the church and school should be kept separate.

        And so it goes.

        And so it remains one of the better kept secrets amongs the schoolmen, churchmen, and the IRS regarding how, despite public claims regarding the separation of church and school, the private schools are now officially being recognized as "integral agencies of the churches of Christ".

        Why?

        So basketball ministers, math ministers, english ministers, and other similarly situated ministers employed in the various and sundry business enterprises operated through the schools can simply register as
        ministers based on the "priesthood of believers" doctrine, which the government is incapable of defeating, and claim the tax free ministerial housing benefits.

        And they do!

        This important part of "our" history has yet to be fully explored by competent historians and commentators.

        I'm still waiting!

        Sincerely,
        Robert Baty


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Robert Baty
        Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2009 1:10 PM
        To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [M & B] Jay Guin on the housing allowance!


        ------------Forwarded Article-------------

        http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/#more-3972

        The Housing Allowance: Do Christian College Professors Qualify?

        Posted on March 15, 2009 by Jay Guin

        April 15 is fast approaching, and so it’s time to answer a question posed to me regarding the housing allowance for ministers.

        Reader and frequent commenter Robert Baty brought this issue to my attention.

        Robert is a retired IRS examiner.

        I’m a tax attorney.

        We sometimes disagree.

        That’s the nature of things.

        But we are both concerned that Christians honor the tax laws, as Paul commanded in Romans 13 — and we’ve both seen abuses by Christians and even Christian ministers.

        This is a lengthy, fairly technical discussion, because, well, the law is pretty difficult to interpret. But it’s important far beyond Christian college professors. Nearly the identical issue comes up with any parachurch organization, such as a preschool, Christian primary school, inner city ministry, foster care ministry, nonprofit publishing house, etc.

        Background

        Some time ago, I posted material on figuring the “housing allowance” that ministers of the gospel qualify for. This is a major tax advantage, because ministers may exclude from income the portion of their wages paid as a housing allowance and actually spent on housing costs.

        Internal Revenue Code section 107 excludes from a minister’s income the amount paid as a –

        > rental allowance paid to him as part
        > of his compensation, to the extent
        > used by him to rent or provide a
        > home and to the extent such allowance
        > does not exceed the fair rental value
        > of the home, including furnishings and
        > appurtenances such as a garage, plus
        > the cost of utilities

        Let’s try that in English.

        The church may designate some portion of the minister’s pay as “housing allowance.”

        On his tax return, he may exclude from his taxable income the lesser of –

        > The amount designated as a
        > housing allowance

        > The amount actually spent on
        > housing expenses, such as debt
        > service on his home mortgage,
        > utilities, insurance, and taxes

        > The fair rental value of the home
        > plus utilities

        In addition, the minister is allowed to deduct his property taxes and interest (subject to the limits on itemized deductions).

        This is double benefit and yet plainly permitted under the law.

        The law in this area is summarized in IRS Publication 517.

        Who is a “minister of the gospel”?

        Now, this rule raises all sorts of intriguing questions, one of which is just who is a “minister of the gospel.”

        This has been dealt with in regulations under Section 107 –

        > In order to qualify for the exclusion,
        > the home or rental allowance must
        > be provided as remuneration for
        > services which are ordinarily the
        > duties of a minister of the gospel. …

        > Examples of specific services the
        > performance of which will be
        > considered duties of a minister for
        > purposes of section 107 include

        >> the performance of sacerdotal
        >> functions,

        >> the conduct of religious worship,

        >> the administration and maintenance
        >> of religious organizations and their
        >> integral agencies,

        >> and the performance of teaching
        >> and administrative duties at
        >> theological seminaries.

        Now, in Churches of Christ it’s particularly difficult to define “minister of the gospel,” as we don’t draw a clear line between laity and clergy.

        We normally don’t even ordain our ministers in any formal sense.

        For example, “sacerdotal functions” refers to administering baptism or communion — but we generally allow any male member to do either, and some churches allow any female members to baptize outside the assembly.

        However, we do have a tradition or culture that refers to some church officials as a “minister” and not others. The church secretary is not the “minister of typing.”

        Conventionally, we limit the title “minister” to the preacher, the youth minister, the campus minister, and a few others, such as a children’s minister, a “minister of involvement,” or “minister of spiritual formation.”

        A decent more-or-less objective standard for who is a minister would be to look at Abilene Christian’s annual survey of ministers’ salaries to see what titles show up on the list.

        An eldership or other employer should prudently

        > (1) specify the housing allowance in
        > advance of each tax year (retroactive
        > or verbal designations aren’t
        > recognized by the IRS)

        and

        > (2) designate the minister as “ordained” > to ministry in a contract or job
        > description. And elders should only
        > designate staff who are truly thought
        > of as ministers, to avoid impeaching
        > the legitimacy of their designations.

        The regulations under Section 107 incorporate the regulations under section 1402 (dealing with Social Security), which give a stricter definition of who qualifies. To be a minister of the gospel, one must be –

        > a duly ordained, commissioned, or
        > licensed minister of a church.

        The regulations then provide,

        > If a minister is performing service for
        > an organization which is operated as
        > an integral agency of a religious
        > organization under the authority of
        > a religious body constituting a church
        > or church denomination, all service
        > performed by the minister in the
        > conduct of religious worship, in the
        > ministration of sacerdotal functions,
        > or in the control, conduct, and
        > maintenance of such organization
        > (see subparagraph (2)(ii) of this
        > paragraph) is in the exercise of his
        > ministry. The application of this rule
        > may be illustrated by the following
        > example:

        >> Example. M, a duly ordained minister,
        >> is engaged by the N Religious Board
        >> to serve as director of one of its
        >> departments. He performs no other
        >> service. The N Religious Board is an
        >> integral agency of O, a religious
        >> organization operating under the
        >> authority of a religious body
        >> constituting a church denomination.
        >> M is performing service in the exercise >> of his ministry.

        Thus, it’s all-the-more clear that the minister needs to be in some sense ordained.

        But it’s also the rule that a “minister” doesn’t have to be working for a church.

        He may be working for any “integral agency” of a “church or church denomination.”

        In the Churches of Christ, we have no denominational hierarchy. We have no convention.

        How does a religious organization come to qualify as an integral agency of the Churches of Christ — or is it even possible?

        Is a Christian college an integral agency of a religious organization?

        Some years ago, one of our colleges applied for a ruling from the IRS determining whether they qualify as an “integral agency” of the Churches of Christ. In Revenue Ruling 70-549, the IRS found,

        > Although the church lacks a central
        > governing body by which it can
        > exercise direct control over its
        > institutions, the college is most rigidly
        > and continuously governed and
        > controlled by the board of directors
        > who are, in turn, under the control
        > of the elders of the church in which
        > they have their membership. The
        > requirement in the college charter that
        > each director must be a member in
        > good standing of a congregation of
        > the church is a method of indirect
        > control which in this case is as effective
        > as having a central governing agency to > control the college. Every teacher is a
        > member of the church in good standing > and a majority of the students are
        > members of the church. Further, all
        > subjects taught at the college, whether
        > in natural science, mathematics, social
        > science, languages, etc., are taught with > emphasis on religious principles and
        > religious living. Furthermore, the college > trains ministers of the gospel for the
        > church, has a department of missions
        > offering a degree in this area and, in
        > general, performs all the functions for
        > ministerial training that a seminary
        > offers.

        > On the basis of these facts, it is held
        > that the college is, in practice, operated > as an integral agency of the church and > that the minister serving as head of the > department of education, and any other > minister serving on the faculty as a
        > teacher or administrator, is performing > service “in the exercise of his ministry”

        One may question whether the Churches of Christ exercise the level of control that a denominational convention or bishop might, but the fact is that our colleges have remained far truer to the churches they serve than many universities that are supposedly a part of other denominations.

        And if this ruling weren’t issued, there’d likely be no way for many of our ministers to enjoy the same tax benefits as ministers in other denominations — which is surely not the intent of Congress.

        While our universities are not overseen by elderships, they do have substantial ties with the Churches of Christ and — more importantly to my way of thinking — serve many of the same functions of a denominational convention or headquarters. ACU, for example, publishes literature targeted to the Churches, they hold lectureships at which doctrine is discussed and shaped, they host unity meetings, they train ministers and missionaries, they help ministers find jobs and churches find ministers, they assist in intracongregational conflict resolution, they train elders … and the list goes on. And the same is largely true of our other universities.

        As many if not all of the Church of Christ colleges are organized much along these lines, I’m sure, they likely qualify for the housing allowance on these terms.

        And the same would likely hold true for other kinds of parachurch organizations, provided they strictly meet the standards of this ruling and of Revenue Ruling 72-606, as interpreted in Flowers v. USA, 82-1 USTC ¶9114 (N.D. Tex. 1981) –

        1. The board of directors of the college are indirectly controlled by the church because each board member
        must be a member in good standing of the congregation.

        2. Every teacher was a member in good standing of the congregation.

        3. The majority of students are members of the church.

        4. All subjects taught at the college, whether in natural science, mathematics, social science, languages, etc.,
        are taught with emphasis on religious principles and religious living.

        5. The college had a department which performs all the functions for ministerial training that a seminary offers.

        and

        (1) whether the religious organization incorporated the institution;

        (2) whether the corporate name of the institution indicates a church relationship;

        (3) whether the religious organization continuously controls, manages, and maintains the institution;

        (4) whether the trustees or directors of the institution are approved by or must be approved by the religious
        organization or church;

        (5) whether trustees or directors may be removed by the religious organization or church;

        (6) whether annual reports of finances and general operations are required to be made to the religious
        organization or church;

        (7) whether the religious organization or church contributes to the support of the institution; and

        (8) whether, in the event of dissolution of the institution, its assets would be turned over to the religious
        organization or church.

        Notice that the second list was from a ruling not dealing with Churches of Christ, but prudently any organization would attempt to satisfy as many of those standards as possible.

        The second list would especially apply to a parachurch organization seeking qualification because it’s overseen by an eldership.

        The Flowers case involves Texas Christian University, which lost because a majority of its board is not required to be members of its denomination

        You don’t have to miss the rule by much to fail the test.

        Questions remain.

        Under the 1402 regulations, a minister’s performing of any “service for” the college that is an “integral agency” would seem to qualify.

        But the 107 regulations require the minister to be engaged in the “administration or maintenance” of the college. Hence, a department head — an administrator — is clearly within the rule, so long as he is an ordained minister and the college meets the rulings’ standards.

        The example in the 1402 regulations also deals with an administrator.

        A teacher is more problematic. A teacher clearly meets the 1402 standard, but it’s not clear that he’s involved in the “maintenance” of the college.

        Who knows what that odd choice of words really means?

        Maintenance

        Main”te*nance\, n. [OF. maintenance. See Maintain.]

        1. The act of maintaining; sustenance; support; defense; vindication.

        Whatsoever is granted to the church for God’s honor and the maintenance of his service, is granted to God. –South.

        2. That which maintains or supports; means of sustenance; supply of necessaries and conveniences.

        Those of better fortune not making learning their maintenance. –Swift.

        3. (Crim. Law) An officious or unlawful intermeddling in a cause depending between others, by assisting either party with money or means to carry it on.

        See Champerty. –Wharton.

        Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

        That definition isn’t all that helpful, is it?

        The legal meaning clearly doesn’t apply.

        The likely meaning is that the minister’s work must somehow support the religious mission of the university, and under that reading, the work of a professor would seem to qualify.

        Now the rule is a minister is qualified for the housing allowance because he’s a minister working for an agency of the church.

        One does not become a minister by teaching calculus. You must be a minister who teaches calculus.

        This conclusion is supported by the Tax Court decision in Robert D. Lawrence, 50 TC 474 (1968), dealing with a Baptist minister of education.

        Although he held the title of “minister” and had nearly the same job duties as the pastor, because he wasn’t “ordained” as a minister under Baptist practice, he didn’t qualify for the allowance — which should be a warning to Churches of Christ to be careful in their job descriptions. “Ordain” your ministers.

        The result is a peculiar one. A calculus professor at ACU who is an ordained minister can likely claim a housing allowance for part of his ACU salary — if ACU designates a portion of the salary as housing allowance in writing in advance of the calendar year.

        Another calculus professor who is not a minister cannot.

        But isn’t every member a minister?

        Churches of Christ are fond of saying, “Every member is a minister,” and that is truly our doctrinal position.

        We are so low church we deny any distinction between clergy and laity.

        Any member “in good standing” may lead worship, preside over communion, administer a baptism, or preach.

        We even allow “lay” members to officiate weddings and funerals.

        Hence, the argument that any church members may qualify as a “minister of the gospel” is not without weight.

        But I doubt seriously that it would carry enough weight to actually win in court.

        The Lawrence decision makes it clear that where a church makes distinction between ministers and others, the courts will honor that distinction.

        And we do accord certain men a special status as “ministers.”

        Moreover, Congress certainly did not intend to grant a housing allowance to all Christians.

        Think of it this way. The housing allowance is a product of the old “parsonage” practice of many churches. Even today some Churches of Christ provide a free house to the preacher.

        Section 107 makes this tax free to the preacher.

        The housing allowance is designed to give the preacher who owns his own home the same advantage as the preacher with a parsonage.

        Now, which members are of a type that a Church of Christ might provide a house to?

        Clearly, only the pulpit man and a small handful of similarly titled staff.

        Every member is a minister, but not every member gets rent-free use of a house.

        And we really do make distinctions between ministers and members, doctrine notwithstanding.

        For example, in our congregation, our ministers have a weekly meeting of the “ministers.”

        Not all church employees are invited.

        And our “ministers” have periodic retreats, and only they are invited.

        When the local churches have a lunch for ministers, only those with the title are invited. And the elders have regular meetings with the ministers, which is not true of anyone else.

        Therefore, I think we really do make a distinction between those who are hired to serve as fulltime ministers and those who are “vocational ministers.”

        And I’m concerned that if we argue that there is no distinction at all between members and ministers, the IRS will deny the housing allowance to even our preachers — and make it stick.

        As we tax lawyers like to say,

        > “Pigs get fat;
        > hogs get slaughtered.”

        Don’t ask for too much, or you may get nothing.

        College administrators would prudently limit housing allowances to those employees who are “ordained ministers” in the ordinary sense of “minister” among our churches.

        Now, this is an unexpected result.

        I mean, a Baptist minister of worship is turned down because he isn’t ordained, and an assistant basketball coach who fills a small church’s pulpit on weekend qualifies.

        Crazy, isn’t it?

        Well, it’s because the test is

        > (a) are you an ordained minister?

        and

        > (b) are you working for an integral
        > agency of your denomination?

        I can muster any number of counter-arguments (I’m a lawyer; arguing is what I do).

        But so long as there is a ruling on the books approving the head of a college’s history department for a housing allowance, this seems to be the result.

        Other applications

        Consider a minister who is an employee of another type of church agency — an orphanage, a missions support organization, a foster care program, or such.

        The same rules would seem to apply.

        If the agency meets the standards of the rulings to be an “integral agency” and if the employee is an “ordained minister,” he would seem to qualify for the housing allowance — if a part of his salary is designated as such in advance of the year.

        Caution / caveats

        Obviously, facts vary a lot from organization to organization. You can’t intelligently reach a conclusion without reviewing all the rulings, cases, and other authorities in light of a given organization’s unique situation. Hire a capable tax attorney or CPA to be sure you’re doing it right. This is merely an introduction to the complexities of the question.

        Finally,

        (Rom 13:6) This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.

        Don’t rationalize.

        Don’t violate the obvious intent of the law.

        But do take advantage of every savings Congress means for you to have.

        All legal discussions are informational only, do not create a lawyer-client relationship, and may not be relied on. Unless expressly stated otherwise on this website, (1) nothing contained in this website was intended or written to be used, can be used by any taxpayer, or may be relied upon or used by any taxpayer for the purposes of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended; (2) any written statement contained on this website relating to any federal tax transaction or matter may not be used by any person to support the promotion or marketing or to recommend any federal tax transaction or matter; and (3) any taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor with respect to any federal tax transaction or matter contained in this website. No one, without our express written permission, may use any part of this website in promoting, marketing or recommending an arrangement relating to any federal tax matter to one or more taxpayers.


        --------------------------------------------
        --------------------------------------------



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Robert Baty
        (Following are some of the comments I ve added to Jay s blog on the housing allowance issue; still no one has thought to engage in a discussion thereof. Note
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 18, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          (Following are some of the comments I've added to Jay's blog on the housing allowance issue; still no one has thought to engage in a discussion thereof. Note the last entry in particular.-RLBaty)

          http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/

          --------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 15th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

          Some might find the following link to an article out of Pepperdine of some interest:

          http://graphic.pepperdine.edu/news/2003/2003-10-30-minister.htm

          Without addressing the facts regarding the history of 70-549, which remains mostly secret, the article does provide some interesting insight into just how easy it has become to claim the tax free housing allowance and how extensive its use has become.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty

          -----------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 15th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

          As to my reputation at ACU, one of my “moles” sent the following message some time ago.

          > From: Xxxx Xxxxxxx
          > Date: Fri Oct 29, 2004

          > Subject: A bit of ACU history…has died

          > (excerpts)

          > Robert,

          > Given your historical interest in ACU
          > legal matters…, I thought you should
          > know that we have lost one of our
          > professors who also served as associate
          > general counsel — Charles Travathan…

          > BTW Robert, he was one of the guys I
          > have mentioned before who used to roll
          > his eyes at the mention of your name.

          It’s nice to know you’ve been noticed!

          I thought I would post the above here, more appropriately, though it is in reference to my comments regarding Robert Prater and his potential for bringing us something up to date from OCUSA, where he goes to school, which were mentioned under that other subject. It might be interesting to find out what kind of reaction Prater might get if he makes inquiry on this issue and happens to mention my name.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty

          -------------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 16th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

          While continue to wait for further comment and analysis, I will add the following as an historical note regarding what went on behind those closed doors:

          > Congress of the United States
          > House of Representatives
          > Washington, D.C. 20515

          > October 1, 1969

          > The Honorable
          > Paul W. Eggers
          > General Counsel
          > Department of the Treasury
          > 15th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
          > Washington, D.C. 20220

          > (excerpts, EMPHASIS ADDED)

          > Dear Mr. Eggers:

          > After GEORGE BUSH and I talked to you
          > on the telephone yesterday, the thought
          > occurs that I should submit salient points
          > in connection with certain ministers’
          > housing allowance..

          > As GEORGE BUSH mentioned to you
          > on the telephone, I have…

          > If the matter could be resolved
          > administratively, however, the
          > problem could be greatly simplified.

          > IN TRUTH AND IN FACT, ABILENE
          > CHRISTIAN COLLEGE and the few other
          > CHURCH OF CHRIST COLLEGES IN
          > THE COUNTRY ARE INTEGRAL AGENCIES > OF A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION.

          > Teachers who are ministers…are truly
          > ministers of the Gospel and should
          > qualify under the Law and regulations…

          > Should you determine that we need to
          > discuss this matter personally, GEORGE
          > has consented to request a meeting with > you at your convenience.

          > With kindest regards, I remain

          > Sincerely yours,
          > (signed)
          > Omar Burleson

          ---------------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 16th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

          I suppose, if the audience here isn’t going to engage in the discussion, it might at least be interested in what Ed Harrell, after reviewing the documentation, had to say about the matter:

          > Auburn University
          > History Department
          > 2227 Haley Center
          > Auburn University, AL 36849-5207

          > May 11, 2000

          > I suppose my theological reaction to this
          > is simply that the rhetorical commitment
          > to non-institutionalism in Churches of
          > Christ is often sacrificed to practical
          > concerns.

          > The whole episode also demonstrates the
          > growing political clout in Churches of
          > Christ.

          > At any rate, it is interesting that the basic
          > nature of the case is that the Churches
          > were saying

          >> “We say we believe one thing,
          >> but actually we do something
          >> else.”

          > It does, indeed, pretty well explain how
          > political pressure was used to change
          > the rules.

          > David E. Harrell
          > Breeden Eminent Scholar
          > in the Humanities

          Well, it wasn’t the “Churches of Christ” saying that.

          It was the schoolmen.

          The churches of Christ were simply not represented in the process.

          Indeed, the “rule” did change.

          We now have “rule” 70-549 which exists contrary to the facts and the law and the informed theology of members of the church and founding principles of the schools.

          All so those basketball coaches and other similarly situated employees of such private schools, can claim the ministerial housing allowance

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty

          -------------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 17th, 2009 at 7:09 pm

          > Manocchio v. Commissioner,
          > 78 T.C. 989 (1982)…

          > “…the court stated that the Internal
          > Revenue Service has very broad
          > discretion to correct a mistake of
          > law in a ruling and do so with
          > retroactive effect.”

          As noted in Revenue Ruling 83-3.

          Just thought that was worth mentioning to demonstrate that my allegation that 70-549 is contrary to the law is not unique.

          Of course, my allegation is consistent with the observations of the schoolmen and IRS officials, before politics, as well as the relevant facts of the case.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty

          ----------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 17th, 2009 at 7:35 pm
          IRS Conference Notes
          Conference Date: 08/13/1965

          (excerpts)

          > The issue in this case is whether the
          > ordained ministers teaching at the
          > college are entitled to the housing
          > allowance exclusion provided to
          > ministers under section 107 of
          > the Code.

          > In our ruling of 9/14/64 to the college,
          > we held that these teachers were
          > not entitled to the exclusion, since,
          > the college admittedly was not an
          > integral agency of a church, or
          > church denomination.

          > Xxxxxxxx protested…

          > We explained to Xxxxxxxx that we
          > had to administer the law within the
          > framework of the statutes passed
          > by Congress, and that the benefits
          > of sec. 107 of the Code do not extend
          > to teachers at a college merely
          > because they are ordained.

          > Xxxxxxx stated that the inequities
          > created by this statue apparently
          > would have to be cured by
          > legislation, and he would take it
          > up with his congressman.

          > signed:
          > L.L. Lemert

          Letter from Lester Utter
          Chief, Individual Income Tax Branch
          to
          John Tower
          United States Senate

          July 1968

          (excerpts)

          > Xxxxxxx admits the correctness of
          > our earlier rulings, which rest
          > upon the fact that Xxxxxxxxx is not
          > an integral agency of a religious
          > organization under the authority
          > of a religious body constituting a
          > church or church denomination.

          > We have carefully studied the
          > informational material submitted
          > and have found nothing therein
          > to warrant a change in our
          > position that the teaching services
          > performed by the ordained ministers
          > of the Xxxxxxxxxx are not services
          > within the exercise of their ministry
          > for purposes of qualifying for the
          > home or rental allowance exclusion
          > under section 107 of the Code.

          > As requested, we are returning the
          > copy of Xxxxxxx letter and the
          > material he forwarded. Please
          > advise us if we can be of any further
          > service.

          > signed
          > Lester Utter

          Indeed, the problem was a legislative one, but instead of working on trying to make their desires legal, the democratic way, a ruling contrary to the facts and the law was put in place, compromising the law, the IRS, the church, and the private schools.

          All so those basketball ministers, and other similarly situated employees in the many and varied business enterprises of the schools could claim tax free housing.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty

          -------------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 17th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

          Jay’s decision to post on this topic, this week, is most appropriate. I just found out it is “Sunshine Week”; having to do with openness in government!

          In connection therewith, I ran across this:

          > (excerpt)

          > Federal Govt. Still Viewed as Secretive

          > Washington, D.C. — For the first time
          > in four years, public opinion about
          > government secrecy has leveled off,
          > although more than seven in 10
          > adults still consider the federal
          > government to be secretive, according
          > to the 2009 Sunshine Week survey by
          > Scripps Howard News Service and
          > Ohio University.

          In this case, the private schools may be a little more secretive than the federal government.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty

          -----------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 17th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

          The Jobe case has been previously referenced. In that case, some “renegade” IRS agent thought to call into question the housing allowance claimed by basketball minister Jerry Jobe in connection with the payment for services he performed while working for Oklahoma Christian College (now OCUSA). To the agent’s credit, the case proceeded through the administrative appeals process and was being supported by the IRS’ District Counsel lawyers in litigation before the U.S. Tax Court. Alas, the District Counsel lawyers were no match for the powers behind Jobe and the existence of Revenue Ruling 70-549.

          In somewhat of an unusual move, Jobe’s high-powered lawyers overdid his petition and pretty much argued his case in the lengthy petition. Since the case never went to trial, the petition, therefore, provided insight into the nature of the case.

          Here’s some information from the petitioner for reference in this discussion; if it happens that there is a discussion:

          > Jerry J. Jobe, et al,
          > v.
          > Commissioner of Internal Revenue

          > Dkt No. 33686-83

          > Petition

          > (excerpts)

          > 4. The determination of tax set forth
          > in the said notice of deficiency is based
          > upon the following errors:

          >> (a) The Commissioner erred in failing
          >> to recognize Oklahoma Christian
          >> college (”OCC”) as being an integral
          >> agency of the churches (sic) of Christ.

          >> (b) The Commissioner erred in failing
          >> to recognize petitioner Jerry J. Jobe
          >> as being a minister of the gospel.

          > Background

          >> (ii) The relationship between ACC and
          >> churches (sic) of Christ as set forth in
          >> Rev. Rul. 70-549 is almost identical to
          >> the relationship between OCC and the
          >> churches (sic) of Christ.

          > Minister of the Gospel

          >> (zz) Petitioner Jerry J. Jobe approached
          >> the elders of his congregation and
          >> requested that he be certified as a
          >> minister of the gospel.

          >> (aaa) …the elders of Petitioner Jerry
          >> J. Jobe certified him…

          >> (bbb) The letter referred to…was filed
          >> of record in the office of the Court
          >> Clerk of Oklahoma County…

          Ultimately, the National Office of the IRS pulled the plug on the litigation, after having it set for trial a number of times,

          As long as 70-549 is on the books, it appears any employees of the private schools like ACU, OCUSA, et al, who want to register as ministers is going to be able to claim tax free housing; contrary to the facts and the law.

          I suspect that, should any “minister” be denied a housing designation by the private school, he/she would have grounds for a suit against the school.

          That might be interesting!

          Jay, given the existence of 70-549 and the “priesthood of believers” you referenced earlier, don’t you think a “minister” denied a designated housing allowance might have grounds to sue the school for such a designated benefit?

          Who knows, maybe the schools have already faced such problems and quietly settled the cases by granting such allowances.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty

          -------------------------------------------

          Robert Baty,
          on March 18th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

          Jay,

          I just visited your church’s website and picked this up:

          > Shon Smith
          > Preaching Minister

          > Shon came to University in June
          > of 2005 to serve as the Preaching
          > Minister.

          > In December of 2002 Shon joined
          > Oklahoma Christian University as
          > Vice President for Church Relations.

          > He earned his B.A. in Bible in 1991
          > and a M.A. in Ministry in 1997 from
          > Oklahoma Christian University.

          > Prior to going to OCU, Shon served
          > as the Campus Minister at the Memorial
          > Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City,
          > Oklahoma, from 1991-2000…

          Looks to me like Shon would be an ideal candidate to offer some “official” input and chat on this subject.

          Think you can get him to come around?

          SIncerely,
          Robert Baty

          --------------------------------------------
          --------------------------------------------



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Robert Baty
          ... The Journal Record Oklahoma City August 23, 2004 by Journal Record staff Oklahoma Christian University has created the position of ethics ombudsman to
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 19, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            I just ran across the following, which provides more reason to think that Shon Smith, one of the preachers where Jay Guin serves as elder, should be providing feedback on Jay's blog regarding 70-549 and Oklahoma Christian's involvement therewith:

            -----------------------------------------

            The Journal Record
            Oklahoma City
            August 23, 2004

            by Journal Record staff

            Oklahoma Christian University has created the position of ethics ombudsman to assist in safeguarding the integrity and reputation of the university.

            Shon Smith, vice president for church relations, added the ombudsman role to his other duties. As ethics ombudsman, Smith will receive, investigate and resolve questions and allegations of potential lapses in institutional ethics and integrity.

            Many businesses and nonprofit organizations have found it useful to create a management position to be the recipient of inquiries or concerns about compliance with the organization's standards of ethical behavior, said Mike O'Neal, president of the school.

            A perception of ethical lapse, whether true or not, can do significant damage to the reputation of the organization and/or individuals.

            ----------------------------------------
            ----------------------------------------

            My further comments:

            Of course, I am eager to see Jay's feedback as well, being an elder and a tax attorney.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty


            -----Original Message-----
            From: Robert Baty
            Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 10:36 PM
            To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [M & B] Re: Jay Guin on the housing allowance!

            (Following are some of the comments I've added to Jay's blog on the housing allowance issue; still no one has thought to engage in a discussion thereof. Note the last entry in particular.-RLBaty)

            http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/

            --------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 15th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

            Some might find the following link to an article out of Pepperdine of some interest:

            http://graphic.pepperdine.edu/news/2003/2003-10-30-minister.htm

            Without addressing the facts regarding the history of 70-549, which remains mostly secret, the article does provide some interesting insight into just how easy it has become to claim the tax free housing allowance and how extensive its use has become.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            -----------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 15th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

            As to my reputation at ACU, one of my “moles” sent the following message some time ago.

            > From: Xxxx Xxxxxxx
            > Date: Fri Oct 29, 2004

            > Subject: A bit of ACU history…has died

            > (excerpts)

            > Robert,

            > Given your historical interest in ACU
            > legal matters…, I thought you should
            > know that we have lost one of our
            > professors who also served as associate
            > general counsel — Charles Travathan…

            > BTW Robert, he was one of the guys I
            > have mentioned before who used to roll
            > his eyes at the mention of your name.

            It’s nice to know you’ve been noticed!

            I thought I would post the above here, more appropriately, though it is in reference to my comments regarding Robert Prater and his potential for bringing us something up to date from OCUSA, where he goes to school, which were mentioned under that other subject. It might be interesting to find out what kind of reaction Prater might get if he makes inquiry on this issue and happens to mention my name.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            -------------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 16th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

            While continue to wait for further comment and analysis, I will add the following as an historical note regarding what went on behind those closed doors:

            > Congress of the United States
            > House of Representatives
            > Washington, D.C. 20515

            > October 1, 1969

            > The Honorable
            > Paul W. Eggers
            > General Counsel
            > Department of the Treasury
            > 15th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
            > Washington, D.C. 20220

            > (excerpts, EMPHASIS ADDED)

            > Dear Mr. Eggers:

            > After GEORGE BUSH and I talked to you
            > on the telephone yesterday, the thought
            > occurs that I should submit salient points
            > in connection with certain ministers’
            > housing allowance..

            > As GEORGE BUSH mentioned to you
            > on the telephone, I have…

            > If the matter could be resolved
            > administratively, however, the
            > problem could be greatly simplified.

            > IN TRUTH AND IN FACT, ABILENE
            > CHRISTIAN COLLEGE and the few other
            > CHURCH OF CHRIST COLLEGES IN
            > THE COUNTRY ARE INTEGRAL AGENCIES > OF A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION.

            > Teachers who are ministers…are truly
            > ministers of the Gospel and should
            > qualify under the Law and regulations…

            > Should you determine that we need to
            > discuss this matter personally, GEORGE
            > has consented to request a meeting with > you at your convenience.

            > With kindest regards, I remain

            > Sincerely yours,
            > (signed)
            > Omar Burleson

            ---------------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 16th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

            I suppose, if the audience here isn’t going to engage in the discussion, it might at least be interested in what Ed Harrell, after reviewing the documentation, had to say about the matter:

            > Auburn University
            > History Department
            > 2227 Haley Center
            > Auburn University, AL 36849-5207

            > May 11, 2000

            > I suppose my theological reaction to this
            > is simply that the rhetorical commitment
            > to non-institutionalism in Churches of
            > Christ is often sacrificed to practical
            > concerns.

            > The whole episode also demonstrates the
            > growing political clout in Churches of
            > Christ.

            > At any rate, it is interesting that the basic
            > nature of the case is that the Churches
            > were saying

            >> “We say we believe one thing,
            >> but actually we do something
            >> else.”

            > It does, indeed, pretty well explain how
            > political pressure was used to change
            > the rules.

            > David E. Harrell
            > Breeden Eminent Scholar
            > in the Humanities

            Well, it wasn’t the “Churches of Christ” saying that.

            It was the schoolmen.

            The churches of Christ were simply not represented in the process.

            Indeed, the “rule” did change.

            We now have “rule” 70-549 which exists contrary to the facts and the law and the informed theology of members of the church and founding principles of the schools.

            All so those basketball coaches and other similarly situated employees of such private schools, can claim the ministerial housing allowance

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            -------------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 17th, 2009 at 7:09 pm

            > Manocchio v. Commissioner,
            > 78 T.C. 989 (1982)…

            > “…the court stated that the Internal
            > Revenue Service has very broad
            > discretion to correct a mistake of
            > law in a ruling and do so with
            > retroactive effect.”

            As noted in Revenue Ruling 83-3.

            Just thought that was worth mentioning to demonstrate that my allegation that 70-549 is contrary to the law is not unique.

            Of course, my allegation is consistent with the observations of the schoolmen and IRS officials, before politics, as well as the relevant facts of the case.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            ----------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 17th, 2009 at 7:35 pm
            IRS Conference Notes
            Conference Date: 08/13/1965

            (excerpts)

            > The issue in this case is whether the
            > ordained ministers teaching at the
            > college are entitled to the housing
            > allowance exclusion provided to
            > ministers under section 107 of
            > the Code.

            > In our ruling of 9/14/64 to the college,
            > we held that these teachers were
            > not entitled to the exclusion, since,
            > the college admittedly was not an
            > integral agency of a church, or
            > church denomination.

            > Xxxxxxxx protested…

            > We explained to Xxxxxxxx that we
            > had to administer the law within the
            > framework of the statutes passed
            > by Congress, and that the benefits
            > of sec. 107 of the Code do not extend
            > to teachers at a college merely
            > because they are ordained.

            > Xxxxxxx stated that the inequities
            > created by this statue apparently
            > would have to be cured by
            > legislation, and he would take it
            > up with his congressman.

            > signed:
            > L.L. Lemert

            Letter from Lester Utter
            Chief, Individual Income Tax Branch
            to
            John Tower
            United States Senate

            July 1968

            (excerpts)

            > Xxxxxxx admits the correctness of
            > our earlier rulings, which rest
            > upon the fact that Xxxxxxxxx is not
            > an integral agency of a religious
            > organization under the authority
            > of a religious body constituting a
            > church or church denomination.

            > We have carefully studied the
            > informational material submitted
            > and have found nothing therein
            > to warrant a change in our
            > position that the teaching services
            > performed by the ordained ministers
            > of the Xxxxxxxxxx are not services
            > within the exercise of their ministry
            > for purposes of qualifying for the
            > home or rental allowance exclusion
            > under section 107 of the Code.

            > As requested, we are returning the
            > copy of Xxxxxxx letter and the
            > material he forwarded. Please
            > advise us if we can be of any further
            > service.

            > signed
            > Lester Utter

            Indeed, the problem was a legislative one, but instead of working on trying to make their desires legal, the democratic way, a ruling contrary to the facts and the law was put in place, compromising the law, the IRS, the church, and the private schools.

            All so those basketball ministers, and other similarly situated employees in the many and varied business enterprises of the schools could claim tax free housing.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            -------------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 17th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

            Jay’s decision to post on this topic, this week, is most appropriate. I just found out it is “Sunshine Week”; having to do with openness in government!

            In connection therewith, I ran across this:

            > (excerpt)

            > Federal Govt. Still Viewed as Secretive

            > Washington, D.C. — For the first time
            > in four years, public opinion about
            > government secrecy has leveled off,
            > although more than seven in 10
            > adults still consider the federal
            > government to be secretive, according
            > to the 2009 Sunshine Week survey by
            > Scripps Howard News Service and
            > Ohio University.

            In this case, the private schools may be a little more secretive than the federal government.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            -----------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 17th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

            The Jobe case has been previously referenced. In that case, some “renegade” IRS agent thought to call into question the housing allowance claimed by basketball minister Jerry Jobe in connection with the payment for services he performed while working for Oklahoma Christian College (now OCUSA). To the agent’s credit, the case proceeded through the administrative appeals process and was being supported by the IRS’ District Counsel lawyers in litigation before the U.S. Tax Court. Alas, the District Counsel lawyers were no match for the powers behind Jobe and the existence of Revenue Ruling 70-549.

            In somewhat of an unusual move, Jobe’s high-powered lawyers overdid his petition and pretty much argued his case in the lengthy petition. Since the case never went to trial, the petition, therefore, provided insight into the nature of the case.

            Here’s some information from the petitioner for reference in this discussion; if it happens that there is a discussion:

            > Jerry J. Jobe, et al,
            > v.
            > Commissioner of Internal Revenue

            > Dkt No. 33686-83

            > Petition

            > (excerpts)

            > 4. The determination of tax set forth
            > in the said notice of deficiency is based
            > upon the following errors:

            >> (a) The Commissioner erred in failing
            >> to recognize Oklahoma Christian
            >> college (”OCC”) as being an integral
            >> agency of the churches (sic) of Christ.

            >> (b) The Commissioner erred in failing
            >> to recognize petitioner Jerry J. Jobe
            >> as being a minister of the gospel.

            > Background

            >> (ii) The relationship between ACC and
            >> churches (sic) of Christ as set forth in
            >> Rev. Rul. 70-549 is almost identical to
            >> the relationship between OCC and the
            >> churches (sic) of Christ.

            > Minister of the Gospel

            >> (zz) Petitioner Jerry J. Jobe approached
            >> the elders of his congregation and
            >> requested that he be certified as a
            >> minister of the gospel.

            >> (aaa) …the elders of Petitioner Jerry
            >> J. Jobe certified him…

            >> (bbb) The letter referred to…was filed
            >> of record in the office of the Court
            >> Clerk of Oklahoma County…

            Ultimately, the National Office of the IRS pulled the plug on the litigation, after having it set for trial a number of times,

            As long as 70-549 is on the books, it appears any employees of the private schools like ACU, OCUSA, et al, who want to register as ministers is going to be able to claim tax free housing; contrary to the facts and the law.

            I suspect that, should any “minister” be denied a housing designation by the private school, he/she would have grounds for a suit against the school.

            That might be interesting!

            Jay, given the existence of 70-549 and the “priesthood of believers” you referenced earlier, don’t you think a “minister” denied a designated housing allowance might have grounds to sue the school for such a designated benefit?

            Who knows, maybe the schools have already faced such problems and quietly settled the cases by granting such allowances.

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty

            -------------------------------------------

            Robert Baty,
            on March 18th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

            Jay,

            I just visited your church’s website and picked this up:

            > Shon Smith
            > Preaching Minister

            > Shon came to University in June
            > of 2005 to serve as the Preaching
            > Minister.

            > In December of 2002 Shon joined
            > Oklahoma Christian University as
            > Vice President for Church Relations.

            > He earned his B.A. in Bible in 1991
            > and a M.A. in Ministry in 1997 from
            > Oklahoma Christian University.

            > Prior to going to OCU, Shon served
            > as the Campus Minister at the Memorial
            > Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City,
            > Oklahoma, from 1991-2000…

            Looks to me like Shon would be an ideal candidate to offer some “official” input and chat on this subject.

            Think you can get him to come around?

            SIncerely,
            Robert Baty

            --------------------------------------------
            --------------------------------------------



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Robert Baty
            (An earlier related post regarding Shon Smith was submitted, but has not yet been posted. As a result, this post and the previous post may post out of
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 19, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              (An earlier related post regarding Shon Smith was submitted, but has not yet been posted. As a result, this post and the previous post may post out of sequence.-RLBaty)

              Following my name below is Jay Guin's response to my coverage of the issue on his blog. It has just posted.

              While he and I do have some points of disagreement, as evidenced in my presentation on his blog, he indicates that my further pursuit of the discussion on his blog is not desired.

              I suspect there are other factors in play here, as evidenced by my presentation on his blog and his latest comments.

              However, such speculations remain just that.

              Sincerely,
              Robert Baty

              -------------------------------------------

              http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/

              Jay Guin
              March 19, 2009

              Robert,

              I've not replied to your posts up to this point for these reasons --

              > * I've spent my time on the other
              > posts, which I think are far more
              > important to the Kingdom. I have
              > a job and family, and my time is
              > limited. I try to set priorities.

              > * What I say in the original post
              > remains my opinion.

              > * I have no trouble at all with the
              > conclusion that our colleges are
              > integral agencies of the Churches
              > of Christ for tax purposes, for
              > reasons I've explained.

              > * Were some colleges hypocritical
              > in 1970 or earlier? I don't know. I
              > do know that about that time there
              > was quite a controversy within the
              > churches over institutionalism -- with
              > questions arising as to what ministries
              > had to be under an eldership's
              > oversight and which ones ought to be
              > overseen by boards of directors. There
              > was great concern about the colleges.

              I thought it was all pointless back then, and still do.

              I grew up in a town where all the other Churches of Christ were non-institutional, and I've heard and made those arguments since junior high.

              It was a fruitless dispute then. It's a fruitless dispute today.

              > * If you are concerned about Shon's
              > work for OCU, you are welcome to
              > call him at the church. The number
              > is listed. But it's very inappropriate
              > to try to bait him into criticizing his
              > former employer here. I'm confident
              > he won't be responding.

              > * The fact that some professors may
              > claim a housing allowance is the law
              > of the land, and they should take
              > advantage of it if they meet the terms
              > of the ruling.

              > "Anyone may arrange his affairs so
              > that his taxes shall be as low as
              > possible; he is not bound to choose
              > that pattern which best pays the
              > treasury. There is not even a patriotic
              > duty to increase one's taxes. Over and
              > over again the Courts have said that
              > there is nothing sinister in so arranging > affairs as to keep taxes as low as
              > possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor > alike and all do right, for nobody owes
              > any public duty to pay more than the
              > law demands."

              >> Judge Learned Hand,
              >> Gregory v. Helvering,
              >> 69 F.2d 809, 810 (2d Cir. 1934),
              >> aff'd, 293 US. 465,
              >> 55 S.Ct. 266, 79 L.Ed. 596 (1935).

              As you know, once an IRS position has been on the books for many years, the courts won't allow the IRS to rescind the ruling.

              The presumption is that if Congress didn't agree, after 39 years, Congress would have changed the law.

              Thus, this venerable ruling, whether or not originally correct, is now the law. Only Congress can change it. And because it's the law, taxpayers who qualify can and should take advantage of it.

              I will not be discussing the rightness of the ruling further, as this is not a tax policy blog.

              I should add, however, that I think the housing allowance is an important topic, and I wasn't aware of the ruling's impact on our colleges until you brought it to my attention.

              I'm grateful for a chance to help our ministers understand the law better.

              Jay Guin
              http://oneinjesus.info/

              See all comments on this post here:

              http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/#comments

              -----------------------------------------
              -----------------------------------------



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • rlbaty50
              (My first submission of this post has not shown up. So, I m posting this second submission from the website. The original may show up later.-RLBaty) ... The
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 19, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                (My first submission of this post has not shown up. So, I'm posting this second submission from the website. The original may show up later.-RLBaty)

                I just ran across the following, which provides more reason to think that Shon Smith, one of the preachers where Jay Guin serves as elder, should be providing feedback on Jay's blog regarding 70-549 and Oklahoma Christian's involvement therewith:

                -----------------------------------------

                The Journal Record
                Oklahoma City
                August 23, 2004

                by Journal Record staff

                Oklahoma Christian University has created the position of ethics ombudsman to assist in safeguarding the integrity and reputation of the university.

                Shon Smith, vice president for church relations, added the ombudsman role to his other duties. As ethics ombudsman, Smith will receive, investigate and resolve questions and allegations of potential lapses in institutional ethics and integrity.

                Many businesses and nonprofit organizations have found it useful to create a management position to be the recipient of inquiries or concerns about compliance with the organization's standards of ethical behavior, said Mike O'Neal, president of the school.

                A perception of ethical lapse, whether true or not, can do significant damage to the reputation of the organization and/or individuals.

                ----------------------------------------
                ----------------------------------------

                My further comments:

                Of course, I am eager to see Jay's feedback as well, being an elder and a tax attorney.

                Sincerely,
                Robert Baty
              • rlbaty50
                [This is yet a second message which I earlier sent in but which has not yet posted. So, I m sending it again from the website. A duplicate posting may show
                Message 7 of 9 , Mar 19, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  [This is yet a second message which I earlier sent in but which has not yet posted. So, I'm sending it again from the website. A duplicate posting may show up later.-RLBaty)

                  (An earlier related post regarding Shon Smith was submitted, but has not yet been posted. As a result, this post and the previous post may post out of sequence.-RLBaty)

                  Following my name below is Jay Guin's response to my coverage of the issue on his blog. It has just posted.

                  While he and I do have some points of disagreement, as evidenced in my presentation on his blog, he indicates that my further pursuit of the discussion on his blog is not desired.

                  I suspect there are other factors in play here, as evidenced by my presentation on his blog and his latest comments.

                  However, such speculations remain just that.

                  Sincerely,
                  Robert Baty

                  -------------------------------------------

                  http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/

                  Jay Guin
                  March 19, 2009

                  Robert,

                  I've not replied to your posts up to this point for these reasons --

                  > * I've spent my time on the other
                  > posts, which I think are far more
                  > important to the Kingdom. I have
                  > a job and family, and my time is
                  > limited. I try to set priorities.

                  > * What I say in the original post
                  > remains my opinion.

                  > * I have no trouble at all with the
                  > conclusion that our colleges are
                  > integral agencies of the Churches
                  > of Christ for tax purposes, for
                  > reasons I've explained.

                  > * Were some colleges hypocritical
                  > in 1970 or earlier? I don't know. I
                  > do know that about that time there
                  > was quite a controversy within the
                  > churches over institutionalism -- with
                  > questions arising as to what ministries
                  > had to be under an eldership's
                  > oversight and which ones ought to be
                  > overseen by boards of directors. There
                  > was great concern about the colleges.

                  I thought it was all pointless back then, and still do.

                  I grew up in a town where all the other Churches of Christ were non-institutional, and I've heard and made those arguments since junior high.

                  It was a fruitless dispute then. It's a fruitless dispute today.

                  > * If you are concerned about Shon's
                  > work for OCU, you are welcome to
                  > call him at the church. The number
                  > is listed. But it's very inappropriate
                  > to try to bait him into criticizing his
                  > former employer here. I'm confident
                  > he won't be responding.

                  > * The fact that some professors may
                  > claim a housing allowance is the law
                  > of the land, and they should take
                  > advantage of it if they meet the terms
                  > of the ruling.

                  > "Anyone may arrange his affairs so
                  > that his taxes shall be as low as
                  > possible; he is not bound to choose
                  > that pattern which best pays the
                  > treasury. There is not even a patriotic
                  > duty to increase one's taxes. Over and
                  > over again the Courts have said that
                  > there is nothing sinister in so arranging
                  > affairs as to keep taxes as low as
                  > possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor
                  > alike and all do right, for nobody owes
                  > any public duty to pay more than the
                  > law demands."

                  >> Judge Learned Hand,
                  >> Gregory v. Helvering,
                  >> 69 F.2d 809, 810 (2d Cir. 1934),
                  >> aff'd, 293 US. 465,
                  >> 55 S.Ct. 266, 79 L.Ed. 596 (1935).

                  As you know, once an IRS position has been on the books for many years, the courts won't allow the IRS to rescind the ruling.

                  The presumption is that if Congress didn't agree, after 39 years, Congress would have changed the law.

                  Thus, this venerable ruling, whether or not originally correct, is now the law. Only Congress can change it. And because it's the law, taxpayers who qualify can and should take advantage of it.

                  I will not be discussing the rightness of the ruling further, as this is not a tax policy blog.

                  I should add, however, that I think the housing allowance is an important topic, and I wasn't aware of the ruling's impact on our colleges until you brought it to my attention.

                  I'm grateful for a chance to help our ministers understand the law better..

                  Jay Guin
                  http://oneinjesus.info/

                  See all comments on this post here:

                  http://oneinjesus.info/2009/03/15/the-housing-allowance-do-christian-college-professors-qualify/#comments

                  -----------------------------------------
                  -----------------------------------------
                • Robert Baty
                  I have now responded to the comments of David Grimes which he posted to Jay s blog this morning. In my response, I also address what I consider to be false
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 20, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I have now responded to the comments of David Grimes which he posted to Jay's blog this morning.

                    In my response, I also address what I consider to be false claims by Jay regarding the matter.

                    Here's what I have most recently posted to Jay's blog in response to David Grimes belated entry to the discussion:

                    ----------------------------------------

                    David,

                    Thanks for your belated comments and, like Jay, your indicated biases.

                    You wrote, in part:

                    > (Y)ou need to seek legislative relief.

                    Been there, done that! The subject is too hot for either Republicans or Democrats to handle.

                    > (S)ue someone.

                    Maybe Jay can explain to you why, as to 70-549, I would have no standing to sue. Of course, if he thinks otherwise and is willing to take the case pro bono, we can talk!

                    > If people are, in good faith, following
                    > what the IRS has, in effect, accepted
                    > as a legal practice, then there is no
                    > ethical, theological, moral or legal
                    > issue.

                    That's simply not the case, David. Perhaps you are just not understanding the nature of the discussion, such as it is, and the facts of the matter.

                    And, regarding your bias, you wrote:

                    > I acknowledge that I once held an
                    > administrative role in a religiously
                    > affiliated non-profit association and
                    > did take advantage of the housing
                    > allowance exclusion.

                    I think appropriate, in light of your comments and testimony, David, to address what I believe to be an error regarding Jay's representations in his latest/last post on this topic.

                    Jay wrote, in relevant part:

                    > (O)nce an IRS position has been on
                    > the books for many years, the courts
                    > won't allow the IRS to rescind the
                    > ruling.

                    > The presumption is that if Congress
                    > didn't agree, after 39 years, Congress
                    > would have changed the law.

                    > Thus, this venerable ruling, whether
                    > or not originally correct, is now the
                    > law. Only Congress can change it....
                    > it's the law...

                    The presumption, if such is admitted, would carry little or no weight in this case.

                    I propose that it is false that the courts will not allow the IRS to rescind a ruling once it has been on the books for a number of years.

                    I propose that it is false that such rulings are "law" subject "only to change by Congress".

                    In support of my proposals in rebuttal to Jay's claims, I cite the following observations from an appellant court which dealt with just such an issue:

                    > William L. BECKER Appellant,
                    > v.
                    > COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE
                    > Appellee.

                    > No. 83-5062.

                    > United States Court of Appeals,
                    > Third Circuit.

                    > OPINION OF THE COURT

                    > (Appellant) claims that the I.R.S.'s
                    > initial allowance of the business
                    > deductions, its sudden repudiation
                    > in 1980 of a longstanding policy
                    > embodied in a well-publicized 1962
                    > revenue ruling...all work to estop the
                    > retroactive assessment of a tax
                    > deficiency against him.

                    > The Supreme Court has held that such
                    > rulings are administrative in nature
                    > and do not have the force of law
                    > although they may be useful in
                    > discerning precedent and in
                    > interpreting the Internal Revenue
                    > Code and regulations.

                    > The I.R.S. Revenue Procedures, however,
                    > caution that a ruling may be modified
                    > or revoked..."at any time"...

                    > The Supreme Court has upheld the...
                    > on the ground that the I.R.S. should
                    > not be estopped from correcting
                    > a "mistake of law,"...even though a
                    > taxpayer may have relied to his
                    > detriment on a prior agency ruling...

                    > This position reflects the fact that
                    > Congress, not the I.R.S., is charged
                    > with promulgating the tax laws.

                    > The Commissioner of the I.R.S. is simply
                    > a delegate of the Secretary of the
                    > Treasury whose function is to
                    > implement the law.

                    > Revenue Ruling 62-213...

                    > This reading of the tax law contravenes
                    > Congress's express intention...

                    > Revenue Ruling 80-173 which...
                    > rectified the Commissioner's earlier
                    > mistaken interpretation of the law.

                    > (T)he I.R.S. clearly is not estopped from
                    > nullifying a prior ruling, based on a
                    > mistake of law, by means of a new
                    > ruling having retroactive effect.

                    If such is no longer the case, then maybe Jay or someone else will further enlighten us.

                    In any case, the real story and complete history on this important, public, church, school issue has yet to be told.

                    Sincerely,
                    Robert Baty

                    -------------------------------------------
                    -------------------------------------------



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Robert Baty
                    ... From: w_w_c_l Date: Friday, April 3, 2009 11:03 PM (excerpt) By the way, congratulations on your win on Jay Guin s blog -- I expect your take on tax
                    Message 9 of 9 , Apr 4, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      --------------Forwarded Message-----------

                      From: w_w_c_l
                      Date: Friday, April 3, 2009 11:03 PM

                      (excerpt)

                      By the way, congratulations on your "win" on Jay Guin's blog -- I expect your take on tax breaks for "ministers of basketball" will get a wider circulation and be better received in a place like that than in
                      these local Yahoo groups.

                      I found one of the comments there a little humorous -- something to the effect that
                      "if it's legal, it ain't sinful!"

                      Rick

                      ----------------------------------------
                      ----------------------------------------



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