Does Tax-Deductible Giving Impact Church Offerings?

I had another fleeting thought . . . would removing the tax-deductibility of a monetary gift impact church offerings?  While there is no reason to think that suffering (i.e., flogging, imprisonment, beatings, etc.) for our faith is imminent in our country, some of these kinds of legislative impediments are certainly within the realm of possibility.  But if it did ever happen, would we continue to give faithfully and generously to our church (assuming we are doing so now)?

 

I don’t know that such benefits informed the decisions of the primitive church when it came to giving.

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, [2] for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. [3] For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, [4] begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— [5] and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. [6] Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. [7] But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.[8] I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. [9] For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. [10] And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. [11] So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. [12] For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. [13] For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness [14] your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. [15] As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-15, ESV)

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4 thoughts on “Does Tax-Deductible Giving Impact Church Offerings?

  1. Re: Does Tax-Deductible Giving Impact Church Offerings?

    It might. But I doubt it would impact those who give for the right reasons and with correct motives.

    That being said, it’s a nice benefit that the government provides for tax deductions for charitable (church being a subset of that) giving.

  2. What a great topic that most church people ignore !!!!
    Of course, it would have a tremendous impact. Giving would drop significantly..less than 50 %..I think..
    Church like other organizations and individuals depend totally on $$$$..regardless of what people say about “right reasons”, or as God leads giving..etc.
    Without going into a big theological discourse, why should churches benefit economically when others who benefit the society even more have to pay tax and operate their good work from after tax $$$… Small example: WalMart probably has more impact on personal lives of church people than church itself..(though most would argue emotionally..but quitely common sense would previal..). So why shouldn’t WalMart get tax deduction and why shouldn’t the customers get tax deductible receipts for every purchase… (Sounds crazy doesn’t it ??? So does tax deduction for the churches…not to mention allowing other “weird” religious organizations to receive the non-tax benefits)..
    I would like to hear Biblical basis for allowing tax deductible status…I think it would be very difficult… Like so many traditional habits, since it benefits the church and it involves $$$, no one really cares about Biblical basis…

  3. My hunch we will see churches taxed for property taxes before they eliminate that benefit to the tax payer. But both could be on the horizon. I would also expect housing allowances for pastor’s to be cut. Giving to church’s would probably fall. Many churches when a special offering is taken at Christmas, for example, weekly offerings normally go down.

  4. Jason,

    I have a suspicion it would drop too. It would be very interesting to see just how much.

    Gary,

    Good observation about a special offering’s impact on regular giving. Though, we recently experienced a good thanksgiving offering and a phenomenal weekly offering on the same Sunday (by our standards). It was a real blessing.

    I’m also curious to see if the changes you’ve suggested will come to pass. Altogether possible.

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