Orwellian “1984″ “brain-washed zombie” society – no tax deduction
In 1980 the tax court decided a case about deduction of donations to the Church of Tolerants. The IRS refused the deductions and the Court here agrees.
The Court explains:
Respondent determined deficiencies in petitioners’ Federal income tax for the taxable year 1973 in the amount of $509.67. The issue for decision is whether petitioners are entitled to a deduction under section 170, I.R.C. 1954, 1 for the value of three certificates of deposit which they transferred to the name of the Church of the Tolerants during the taxable year 1973.
Continuing, about the Church of Tolerants:
In the early 1950′s, Walter H. Pusch (hereinafter petitioner) founded an association which he supported based on the concept that every individual should be free to choose his own beliefs as long as he does not interfere with others. For some time petitioner was [*3] the only member of this association. In the early 1960′s, petitioner discovered that some other persons were iterested in his concepts, and in his view his assocition became a religion. At some point petitioner adopted the name the Church of the Tolerants (sometimes hereinafter the Church) for his association. The Church of the Tolerants is not incorporated and is not registered with any governmental agency, local, state or Federal. Petitioner believes that incorporation of the Church or registration with any governmental agency is an intrusion of the state into the rights of the individual to his own religious beliefs. The Church of the Tolerants has no charter and has no by-laws. In 1969, petitioner filed an application on behalf of the Church of the Tolerants with the Internal Revenue Service for classification as an organization exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3). The Revenue Service requested certain information in connection with its consideration of the application, and petitioner dropped the application without furnishing any of the requested information.
And about the specific deductions in dispute:
In 1973, petitioners transferred to the Church three certificates of deposit with a value at the date of transfer of $1,239.33 each. Petitioners on Schedule A of their 1973 Federal income tax return claimed as a deductible cash contribution the value of the three certificates. Respondent in his notice of deficiency disallowed this claimed deduction with the following explanation:
It is determined that the deduction claimed on your income tax return in the amount of $3,627.70 for contributions to the Church of the Tolerants is not allowed because it has not been established [*8] that the organization qualifies under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Accordingly, your taxable income is increased in the amount of $3,627.70.
The Court agrees with the IRS and explains:
On the basis of this record we agre with respondent that petitioners have failed to show that either of these requirements has been met. There is no showing in this record of any religious-type function engaged in by the Church. The record shows that the Church held no services or meetings. Although the Church had a “Marriage Certificate” form, there is no showing in the record of any marriages, other ceremonies or sacraments performed by any “minister” or representative of the Church. Insofar as this record shows, the major function of the Church was to protest the exemption from tax of churches under section 501(c)(3) and the allowance under section 170 to individuals of deductions from income tax for contributions to churches. This record totally fails to show that the Church was organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes. Cf. Western Catholic Church v. Commissioner, 73 T.C. (Oct. 31, 1979), involving section 501(c)(3).
The zombie reference is in a footnote quoting from some of the Church literature:
the literature which the Church distributes portrays other than religious purposes of the Church. As set forth in our findings of fact, the literature distributed by the Church suggests that a major purpose of the Church is to have section 501(c)(3) and 170(c)(2) declared unconstitutional.
5 One leaflet distributed by the Church entitled “BUNK” contains the following statement:
There is ONE good reason for such individualists being associated with a group that recognizes their individual high qualification to minister-to-self: TAX-”STEALS” and their threat to ALL FREEDOM: A then-General-Secty. of the World Council of Churches pointed out some years ago that big-money-bigots, their church-wealth enhanced by taxexemptions, are getting so strong thereby that “they should be able to control the whole economy of the nation in the near future”.A freedom-minded citizen by himself can do nothing about this but merely protest, which accomplishes nothing. But one who joins with us, of the ASSOCIATION OF CHURCHES OF THE TOLERANTS, POB 36099, Houston, Tx 77036; who is thus ordained to minister to his/her own individualistic belief; who is thus allowed by law to get nonreportable/nontaxable ministerial allowances for his housing and other allowable expenses and for local-church investments, thus getting back into use and control substantially all the up-to-half-income contribution-exemption Internal Revenue laws allow… all perfectly legally, avoidance, NOT “evasion”… is DOING SOMETHING PRACTICAL about the ever-growing threat of bigot-takeover to an Orwellian “1984″ “brain-washed zombie” society…
An attempt to have a Revenue statute declared unconstitutional is certainly not a religious purpose. There is not in the record in this case any evidence of religious services, meetings or any other religious activities.
Therefore, the Court finds no violation of Petitioners First or Fifth Amendment rights. Decision entered for the respondent, the IRS.