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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Tax break challenged

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is challenging the constitutionality of tax deductions that clergy are allowed to claim on their housing expenses.

The tax break, which started in 1954, allows clergy to deduct income that is designated as a housing allowance, including rental payments and mortgage interest.

The three plaintiffs receive part of their salaries as housing allowances but do not qualify for the tax exemption because they are not clergy.

Grant Williams, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, declined to comment on any pending litigation.


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