TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DOJ Appeals Invalidation of § 107 Housing Allowance for 'Ministers of the Gospel'

Housing AllowanceForbes:  Obama Administration Weak on Church State Separation? Clergy Housing Allowance Appeal, by Peter J. Reilly:

The Justice Department has given notice that it will be appealing Judge Barbara Crabb’s decision that the income tax exemption of cash housing allowances paid to “ministers of the gospel” (Code § 107(2)) is unconstitutional. [Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Lew (W.D. Wisc. Nov. 22, 2013)] Freedom From Religion Foundation, the plaintiff in the case along with a couple of its officers who were paid housing allowances they could not exclude, commented on the appeal. ...  The interesting question is whether President Obama thinks that § 107(2) is constitutional.  In the case of DOMA, he ordered the Justice Department to stop defending a statute that they determined was unconstitutional. ... [W]e can be pretty sure that there will be a good flow of amicus briefs from those with a stake in the housing allowance.

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