TaxProf Blog

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feld: The Constitutionality of the Cash Parsonage Allowance

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)Alan L. Feld (Boston University), The Constitutionality of the Cash Parsonage Allowance, 142 Tax Notes 667 (Feb. 10, 2014):

Professor Zelinsky has made a valiant effort to defend the constitutionality of section 107(2), the provision that excludes from gross income cash housing allowances of a minister of the gospel. [The First Amendment and the Parsonage Allowance, 142 Tax Notes 413 (Jan. 27, 2014).].  A U.S. district court granted summary judgment to plaintiffs attacking the provision on First Amendment and Equal Protection grounds. Zelinsky criticizes the decision for failing to give due weight to the secular purposes of the exemption. Unfortunately, Zelinsky's argument is ultimately unpersuasive.

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We do have a peculiar system when courts say the 1st Amendment means any school that exercises religion not only can be but must be denied state government funding, but it's ok for the federal government to fund housing for preachers. I suppose it's because the Supreme Court understands neither the Constitution nor the Tax Code.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Feb 11, 2014 8:21:14 AM

Is this fellow arguing against the charitable contribution deduction for donations to churches and other religious institutions?

Posted by: eli bortman | Feb 12, 2014 3:37:13 AM