Last week, I discussed attempts by local governments to make churches pay property taxes. But property isn’t the only thing they’re trying to tax. Cash strapped municipalities are also starting to assess churches with “fees” that are really just taxes in disguise. While these “fees” often start out as very low cost, any attempt to tax churches has profound implications for church sovereignty and religious freedom. We are currently representing two churches in Mission Baptist Church v. Mission, Kansas, which have been assessed what amounts to a driveway tax. It is calculated based on the number of people who attend the church. Churches should actively oppose any new proposed laws that would attempt to tax churches with “fees” or otherwise. They should encourage other religious groups in the area to join them. If the law passes anyway, churches should consult with ADF or another legal group to determine if it is susceptible to legal challenge.
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