Elder Oaks testifies before Senate committee, defends charitable deductions


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  • gratefulmouse san angelo, tx
    Feb. 13, 2012 12:28 p.m.

    notice the lds church is rarely mentioned if at all in contributing monies and foods to help victims of hurricanes etc...we are not proud or boastful...we only want to help our fellow brothers and sisters...satan will use any means he can to destroy christian organizations...and gov will do all it can to tax tax and tax and spend...

  • gratefulmouse san angelo, tx
    Feb. 13, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    I would pay my tithing irregardless of listing it on my taxes...its satans way of trying to stop charitable donations to churches which helps all kinds of people...how obvious ..the gov is trying to stop it so it can keep more of our tax dollars....notice how the lds church is rarely mentioned as a church that donates during times of crisis like katrina...we are not proud or boastful...we do this out of the kindness of our hearts wanting to help our brothers and sisters on this earth....

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    To Allen#1: Did you know that if it wasn't for Harry Reid, President Monson and Elder Oaks may not have been invited to the White House. He was able to get an appointment with President Obama so that they could give President Obama his family history.

    Does this mean that President Monson had to vote for Harry Reid. Your login is illogical. Orin Hatch knew that Elder Oaks has a solid legal mind and that is what he needed. He got that. It had nothing to do with votes, besides how do you know that Elder Oaks is even Republican. He could be a democrat and wouldn't even vote for Hatch.

  • muncle37 SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    As an income tax propfessional in Utah I can say that people of all faiths pay tithing in one way or another. Elder Oaks was speaking for all Chairities, not just the LDS Church. Also, the charitable deduction is limited for people with larger incomes, it's called Alternative Minimum Tax. Both parties are guilty in this!!! Reduce spending and they won't have to increase our taxes!!!

  • Allen#1 West Valley, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    I agree with Kami and add: "Why do most of the conservatives cry and bawl when Federal Assistance is not sent to Utah for disaster relief or to fund projects that are paid by the Federal Government"?

    People who pay tithing for the right reason will pay the same amount of tithing without the tax deduction.

    I was disappointed to see Elder Dallin Oaks testify in Washington DC at the invitation of Orrin Hatch. Too many people will think Elder Oaks wants them to vote for Orrin Hatch.

  • KurtFK Littleton, CO
    Oct. 20, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    I M LDS2,
    I never meant to say we should have NO government - just that the more the government takes from us, the less we have left to give to charity, that's all. And the evidence clearly shows that charities are a lot more effective at humanitarian assistance than the government is, so if I was given a choice, I would always give to charity first.
    When the Law of Consecration is fully implemented, we will be giving EVERYTHING we have to the Church, which will deed back to us "sufficient for our needs". But for the present, I will just have to live with the situation where my government takes about half of what I earn, then squanders a big chunk of it.

  • KurtFK Littleton, CO
    Oct. 20, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    I M LDS2,
    I never meant to say we should have NO government - just that the more the government takes from us, the less we have left to give to charity, that's all. And the evidence clearly shows that charities are a lot more effective at humanitarian assistance than the government is, so if I was given a choice, I would always give to charity first.
    When the Law of Consecration is fully implemented, we will be giving EVERYTHING we have to the Church, which will deed back to us "sufficient for our needs". But for the present, I will just have to live with the situation where my government takes about half of what I earn, then squanders a big chunk of it.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    Hey there Ernest T. Bass in Bountiful, it's off the subject, but I just have to add that not only are we still on Bushs' tax plan, but we are still on Bushs' war plan too. What's up with that?? At least I thought Obama would get us out of the futile and costly attempt to nation build. Impossible in those countries, lasting democracy will succomb to Islamic rule sooner or later. But, Obama has even failed on that one too. 100% failure.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    Kami in Bountiful is correct on the attitude LDS people should have regarding the paying of tithes and offerings. However, I believe that Elder Oaks was looking at a larger picture than just that of members of the LDS Church. Many in this country do donate to charity and are more likly to do so with the incentive of tax deduction. I'm sure the LDS Church won't be hurt by an elimanation of the deduction,(at least I hope not), but there are many worthy charities that very likely will be.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:50 p.m.

    Amazing how many posts I've had rejected on this subject. Seems a leader of the church can state his opinon on the subject and that's all the discussion there can be. You can't even sugesst that his argument is based on a flawed premise that the bill will even hurt legitimate charity donations and not the fraudulent ones used by some to avoid taxes.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    Re: atl134 | 11:30 a.m. Oct. 18, 2011
    "I didn't realize conservatives loved gov't handouts so much"

    You make it sound like it's the government's money and we should be thankful for what crumbs they throw our way. The reason the Feds are so careless with our money is because they didn't have to work to earn it.

  • Flying Finn Murray, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    Federal assistance is like a blood transfusion from your right arm to your left arm ..... through a leaky tube. The Feds can't spend money they don't take first.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    The federal government should close the tax loophole. If it is all about charity. Churches should give it all away everyday.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:12 p.m.

    I am generally against charitable deductions, but certainly see the value in feeding and clothing the less fortunate.

    That charitable giving helps relieve other govt programs.

    However, I really dont see the benefit of tax deductions used in prosthelytzing in this country or around the world.

    This was a deduction that was disallowed, so changes were made in how the money flowed to the missionaries to get around it. Basically a loophole.

    Hard to make a reasonable argument for that type of deduction.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:24 p.m.


    Try moving to a country that has NO government, or a country that has a different form of government that does not protect the economic forms we enjoy here in America.

    The Founders never meant for there to be NO government, and they never meant for government to be FREE (cost nothing to citizens). That is why they gave the government the power to levy taxes to finance its operations: operations that provide the national protections, the unified monetary system, the common defense, and the general welfare that makes it possible for you to earn anything at all and call it "yours".

    Elder Dallin Oaks explicitly decried such irresponsible attitudes as yours when he said:

    "But a democratic republic needs patriotic citizens who are fulfilling their responsibilities as well as claiming their rights. No society is so secure that it can withstand continued demands for increases in citizen rights without producing corresponding increases in the fulfillment of citizen responsibilities... These three fundamentals are the citizen responsibilities of (1) serving in the military, (2) paying taxes, and (3) participating in democratic government."

  • sergio Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    Perhaps worse than government waste is that with too many of the charitable organizations for every dollar donated 90 cents goes to the organization and only 10 cents to the intented recipient.

  • KurtFK Littleton, CO
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    Kami et al,
    You're not "getting" anything in return from the government on your charitable contributions, except a slightly lower tax rate. They're just confiscating less of what you already own. That automatically frees up more of what you have to give to charity, not the government. The more the government extracts from you, the less you have to give away freely. It's that simple.

  • Archi LAYTON, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    Well despite what appears on the surface, the Mormon Church receives an enormous income from various ventures outside of tithing donations. You can guess there is plenty of income that can be used for non-charity focused spending generated from these ventures. It is not illegal and none of Mormon Church leadership have Wall street CEO severance packages provided by the Church waiting for them!

  • Zamok Layton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    What can irritate people is paying taxes to fund things you do not support. I get this to a certain degree, but they should join the club. There are many Government supported programs not everyone supports.

    Even if what is trying to be implied that the mall was funded entirely by donated funds is true, most LDS are still going to pay tithes because it is one of few things that can be done which expresses commitment. Which goes back to 99% of LDS tithing payers will pay tithing regardless of the charitable tax benefit. That was the case before the charitable tax benefit and it would be the case again.

    So even though Elder Oaks addressed the issue, I doubt LDS Church leadership is concerned about members of church not paying tithing because of disallowing the charitable tax benefit. The concern really is towards how it will affect other charitable organizations and the attitude of the country as a whole.

  • RED23 Head in the Clouds, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    Re MightyMite: $1 per member? How many of the members of the LDS Church are living in 3rd world countries and struggling to make it in their lives? The LDS Church is helping take care of people in every country their presence is found. There are more members of the LDS Church outside of the US than in the US. Find me another single group that donated $13 million to Katrina victims.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:55 p.m.

    Re: WatsInitForME

    Very fitting name. $100 of your money in the church's pocket=a billion dollar mall..Know that is what I call charity...

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:41 p.m.

    GCTexas | 12:20 p.m. Oct. 19, 2011
    Kingwood, TX
    I see the tax deduction as net neutral or net positive when it comes to fiscal matters. Dollars spent in the non-profit sector instead of government tax dollars are good for everyone. Government is the most expense source to provide for needs. Non-profits do it more efficiently and more equitably.


    Except for the VA Hospital system. It runs at a higher rate of patient satisfaction than any other hospital system with the latest technology and yet is cheaper than the private system. Kudos to them!

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:17 p.m.

    @ Zamok,

    Best analysis I've seen all day. $100 in a church's pocket WILL do enormously more than $25 in the government's pocket. Beautiful!

  • Zamok Layton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:14 p.m.

    But if these charities do not exist the Federal Governments welfare role increases which would most likely result in a higher tax for everyone. So now MORE of your money is taken from you not allowing you to express your will in how that money is spent.

    I mean is there ever a Government program that the common person is actually able to choose? Did any of us choose the Stimulus Packages? OK if you say yes, did we choose how those funds were allocated? Because it certainly did not go to the guy who needed the bowl of soup. Yes, philosophically we chose the politicians, but that is when they promised the world. At least with tax deductions we know the money is used to support funding non-profit/certified charities.

  • mammalou Somewhere in the USA, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    I don't have time to read through all the comments so forgive me if this has already mentioned. Can you imagine what would have happened during Katrina if we would have had to rely solely on the goverment and the monies they put aside to help with these disasters? It will be a sad day when we no longer have charities to help during these times because of goverment taxes....people only have so much money in their pocket, decide who you want to oversee it, goverment or the numerous charities that do good work....I know my choice, but the one thing I no for sure is there isn't enough to give to both.

  • GCTexas Kingwood, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    I see the tax deduction as net neutral or net positive when it comes to fiscal matters. Dollars spent in the non-profit sector instead of government tax dollars are good for everyone. Government is the most expense source to provide for needs. Non-profits do it more efficiently and more equitably.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:16 p.m.

    All of the Pro and Con on this article: Following the constitution would eliminate most of the problems! Those who follow the cowardly status quo fail to answer one simple question: If I don't have the right to steal from my neighbor, how can I delegate to my government that right! Socialists are really good at hiding the ultimate goal of their choosing--to claim the right to do anything they want with the money its citizens make, including the right to give to charity. No one wants to answer this question because they do not understand government and human nature. Government exists only to do one thing, to protect me in my unalienable rights, including the right to do with my money what I choose. Republicans have a justified concern with what the democrats are doing, but instead of getting at the root, they nible around the edges, while the democrats continue to enlarge their religion of choice--government. If you could find me a democrat that has willing contributed to government more on their income tax beyond what was required, I might listen one of them, if one could be found? Any takers? Didn't think so

  • thrutheeyesoflove O\'Fallon, IL
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    Interesting discussion----one point I see missed. Disallowing a charitable tax deduction (from my, not the Government's, earned income) takes away one of the ways I can express my will---my choice as to what continues to exists or not---my voice. Meaning, donating money to causes I believe are worthy of my donation, whether it be a church, a school, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or the food pantry in my locale, is supporting their ability to make a difference in a way I agree with. Disallowing that tax deduction in effect shuts down my voice in making a difference in my country. Altho, Elder Oaks doesn't express his opinion in that way, in essence what we give our money to supports it's existence. Shut that off, and you shut down my voice, my will. Multiply that by millions of taxpayers, and it's shutting down of the voice of the people.

  • Zamok Layton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    ...Again, the charitable tax deduction encourages others to provide for those in need that the Government WOULD OTHERWISE have to support. The Government paperwork alone to provide 100 bowls of soup would far exceed $25, not to mention all the Government paychecks, welfare meetings, and costs to fund programs. Shoot, every time Congress meets the National deficit increases. So yes, it is smart business to encourage charitable giving by allowing charitable tax deductions and it is a way to provide handouts to those that need it and at the same time save A LOT on potential costs to the Federal Government. If only ALL the welfare issues were solved this way it would be cost the U.S. Government much less. So yeah, I agree with Oaks.

  • Zamok Layton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    I would argue there is no better efficient use of government money than a tax deduction for charity. Ill illustrate with rough numbers. Someones annual income is $50K. Lets say they donate $100 to a soup kitchen. That soup kitchen provides 100 bowls of soup (cost of soup and overhead). So now the donator deducts $100 from their taxable income. In theory, that person now has a $49,900 taxable income. The result is Uncle Sam can only tax that individual on $49,900 and not $50K. Uncle Sam will lose about $25 since $50K is in the 25% tax bracket (25% of $100=$25). So the question we ask ourselves is Could the Federal Government run a program that provides 100 bowls of soup to the needy for $25? NO WAY! The charity provided 100 bowls of soup with $100, no way the Government will do it with $25. My calculations are rough and simplified, but please cut me some slack and see my point. (see next post for more)

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    I will continue to pay my tithing and make other donations to the Church to build God's kingdom regardless of the outcome, but if this is taken away then the tax deduction will mean that much less I have to spend in buying items, which affects the economy. Multiply that by the millions of others who donate and you will continue the recession. Congress and Obama simply do not understand economics 101. The government uses up money and prints money, but they do not make a wise use of money, nor do they improve the economy. DUMB IDEAS are coming from them.

  • ryanwin Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    I don't think the government should be taxing citizens on money that doesn't enrich themselves. Money given away to charities should not be taxed, because it offsets the needs of the people who use government welfare programs. We are already taxed for government welfare programs, but if we choose to give on our own, they should not be double dipping on us. Furthermore, when we donate to charity on our own, it is far more efficient that when the government does it.

    I agree with Elder Oaks, and all of you that disagree with him need to seriously consider these points.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    Some bloggers complain how much the Church is spending on downtown and claim they have spent more doing this than their Humanitarian efforts, but fail to recognize the 75 years of the welfare system, which would be up in the multiple billions. I was in one stake that contributed more than $250,000 to fast offerings and it was not considered a wealthy stake. The members donated fare more money than they saved on the two meals during fasting. Multiple that on average over 2600 stakes and you have a nice amount of money to help the needy each year.

    The same naysayers I think have not taken the time to tour Welfare Square and see how the Church is helping out. The Church seldom toots its own horn, that is not Christ's way. They just go about helping people, but those who hate the Church will use every means they can to negate its efforts.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    @ Vanka,

    Glad that you DON'T see any need for separation of church and state. Very socialistic of you.

    Maybe all Americans should have a percentage of their pay automatically deducted and sent directly to the country's official church, like they do in socialist Germany.

    Since the government would be giving the donations to the churche(s), they'd have access to the books. Right? Does that fit your view of religion?

    Maybe you live in the wrong country.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:15 a.m.

    mightymite says donations to the LDS church support for-profit ventures, and that the church should open its books.

    The LDS church uses tithing to build and maintain church buildings and fund worship-related expenses (like each ward's budget for books, stationary, electricity, etc). All other charitable donations are given to specific causes within the church (fast offerings to support the needy, education fund to help the poor get a good education, etc). While not all donations to the church are given for the purpose of supporting the poor, those that are DO go directly to that cause.

    The church does own a number of for-profit entities. Taxes are paid and returns filed for each, according to IRS guidelines.

    mightymite also derides the amount of funding given by the church to assist in Katrina cleanup - $13 million. He ignores the 3,000 tons of emergency supplies also provided by the church for the same effort. What the church gives is coordinated with officials in charge of the efforts, and some assistance offered is sometimes declined. The church has given and assisted with almost every disaster recovery effort in most places in the world for years.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    THe problem with this discussion is the same with every discussion on capitol hill. It is proposed as an all-or-nothing option. This polarization has to end!

    I am all for phasing out all tax deductions - gradually - and replacing them with a flat tax. The flat tax rates also could be phased in. Over four years, drop all deductions by 25% per year, while instituting a 3-tier flat tax. I would have to study exact GDP and other numbers to get the right figures (something Cain has obviously not done on his 9-9-9 plan), but say we start at A 15% rate with full deductions for those making under $50K ($X) and graduate it down to 3% with no deductions at the end of 4 years. For those making $50K to 200K (or $X to $Y), start with a 24% rate and graduate it down to 7%, and for those over $200K, start with their 35% and gradually lower it to 10%, with no deductions.

    No one is going to go for drastic overnight change. Over the same time frame we should phase in campaign finance reform and congressional term limits, to be discussed elsewhere later.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:56 a.m.

    Let's give a hand to UNIONS that got us weekends off and enough disposable income to go on Sunday and give to churches!

    Naa, lets continue to go third world. Churches in the third world have church on multiple days because people only have 1 day off a month. But in Chile they have shrines right there in the mine so.... very convienent really.

    Let's have a look at China's charitable giving stats to see our future. Right now we need to support the rich.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:24 a.m.

    We need to balance the budget, not give away money to tax loopholes.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 6:18 a.m.

    C'mon... I've seen so many mindless, reaction-based comments, ignoring mathematical sensibilities.

    Elder Oaks's point is spot on. Look honestly. Removing the tax reduction on charitable giving will have an impact on charitable giving. NOT BECAUSE YOU GIVE TO CHARITY TO GET A TAX BREAK, but because if you don't get the tax break, less money is available.

    If there's less money, less goes to charity. Stop pretending that this is about the tax break. It's about you having more means to contribute to the causes that you care about.

    If you give nothing to charity now, you'll give nothing to charity afterwards, and really shouldn't have a say in this at all. Our country's generosity hinges upon the money it has--not upon some mythical amount of money that "feels good" regardless of one's income.

    The direct result of repealing this, from the government side, is to limit the funds going to charities--which imo is a sign that the government thinks too highly of itself, and too little of the amazing amount of philanthropic good that the country does of its own free will.

    Robbing charities, robs the American people the propensity to do good.

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:38 a.m.

    First: the evil of SOCIALISM is that it burdens the individual to the limit where one CANNOT practise charity. The society robs that from the people! AND, that is the real issue in this debate.

    Second: the Federal goverment and FEMA could not handle this effectively and passionately, as would charitable organizations.

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    I see Elder Oaks saying charitable deductions are a to-be-cherished thread of what we have become as a nation, that he should say the nature and future of our country would be affected if we abandon these deductions.

    I appreciate his noting America has a uniqueness attached to the deductions. Do other countries not have charitable donations? Or is he referring to something else?

    I do wish we would wash away most every other -- maybe every other -- deduction there is. If we were to get rid of charitable donations, though, I think we would have to look long and hard at the affect on charitable organizations (not from small contributors, who often do their giving without regard to whether they will get a deduction, but from the big philanthropist donators). We do not want to much weaken our charitable network. It is vital to our society and should be protected.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:52 p.m.

    If charitable gifts are given with the caveat of ideology, are they still charitable?

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:34 p.m.

    Lots of people inculde tithing and other deductions when preparing their taxes only to find out that their deductions aren't as high as the standard deduction is anyway. Even if their tithing does put them over the top, usually it isn't much. I think the kind of deductions charitible organizations are most concerned about are the large ones made by the very wealthy and which do a huge amount of good. If a person gives "$50,000 dollars to the scholarship fund of a college could the government really make more efficient use of it? If someone donates $100,000 to the LDS church humanitarian fund, would the federal government actually make better use of it. If a person donates $230,000 (the amount of taxpayer dollars that was spent on the Obama family vacation in Africa) to help starving children in Africa, should he be taxed on it?

  • Gregg Weber SEATTLE, WA
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:57 p.m.

    The choice is simple. It is between the people becoming charitable and rise to a higher nature. The alternative is to not have charity and become an animal. There are some who want power so much that they not only become an animal. They force the people to lose charity to and figuratively grow fangs like an animal.
    If the government takes over then it can control more then the 1/7th that is in medicine. They can push good people out of the way so that they can control charity the way they want for their and their friends benefit. Not the people.

    Are these people American?

  • twinkleberry67 Layton, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:34 p.m.

    I am truly astounded at the number of posts which advocate turning over all to the government for the expansion and maintenance of the nanny state and lump all charitable organizations into one fraudulent entity. Then there are those who posit that tax exemptions are nothing but a government handout and a major source of the nations debt. Anyone who has a rudimentary knowledge of civics knows perfectly well that the whole nanny state is another name for socialism. As far as tax exemptions causing the nations debt? The money is not the states money that the state graciously allows me to use; it is mine, I worked hard for it and I posit that I should be the one to decide where it goes-not the state. I am not in favor of an increased amount of extortion so that Big Brother can have more money to play monopoly with. Furthermore, legitimate charities accomplish far more with far fewer funds and do a superior job.

  • OneAmerican Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 8:39 p.m.

    Kami, why not take the extra money you save on your deduction and give it to the church or some other charity where you know 100% will go directly to those in need, whereas if given to the government in the form of taxes, only about 20 to 25 cents on the dollar ends up in the hands of those the money was intended for (i.e. it takes approximately 75 cents of every dollar taken in to administer food stamps, one dollar donated as a fast offering goes 100% directly to feed the hungry). Seems to me we have the responsibility of wise stewardship over our money. It is noble that you don't want something in return for your donation. Isn't it more noble to make sure as much gets to the hands of those in need, not eaten up by a government bureaucracy?

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    There is much abuse of the tax-exemption laws in this country. Many organizations use "charitable" status as a front for what amounts to fraud, for which they receive tax benefits. In my opinion, most religions are exactly that kind of organization.

    But there are legitimate charitable organizations that do provide benefit to society at large. The LDS Church may or may not be such an organization - it is probably a mixture, providing some benefit in some areas, but hiding behind the "charitable" label to amass huge amounts of corporate wealth. I have my opinions on that.

    What I will say, however, is that Oaks is correct in principle: pluralism is good. Charitable organizations are a legitimate component of our pluralistic society and economy, without which our American way of life and values would be less resilient, less responsive, and more impoverished.

    We definitely need tax code reform, and a tightening of the tax-exempt/tax-deductible policies are in order. At very least, charitable organizations should be required by law to open their books and reveal their financial statements to the public or else forego the tax benefits.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 6:08 p.m.


    Let me ask you guys complaining about Obama's bus a question. Were you also opposed to President Bush traveling around in the EXACT kind of bus while campaigning for his second term in office by simply yelling "Iraq" and "terrorists?" Were you okay with President Bush (and all previous presidents back to Presient Kennedy) using Air Force One to travel as they deem necessary or is it only with Presidents Obama, Clinton, Johnson, or Kennedy?

    Are you aware the the Secret Service and not President Obama bought that bus - as well as President Bush's former bus?

    The partisan sniping from you guys is getting old.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    Re Dray, your agument sort of sounds like the financial arm of the mormon church. I just hope oaks or the mormons do not turn charitable giving in the opposite direction...The mormon church is a bad example to use with charitable giving and the distributions of those funds to those who need it--it is big business and should not be used as an example to those who truly distribute and need charity.

  • DaveRL OGDEN, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    I am amazed to read all the responses that call this a tax by Obama and the far reaching theories of how charitable donations will be impacted. Fact it is not a tax but the elimination of a tax loop-hole and no it doesn't mean the charity will get less of the donated amount, the donated amount is still the amount. Charities properly registered are still able to collect donations at full value. Or to claim "studies" say liberal donate less is a very far-fetched bold face lie. To rant & rave about untrue facts does not make them anymore true.

    To say if you don't get a deduction you might not donate says a lot about the person.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    I should note that since Pres. Obama is traveling about on a Canadian made bus, paid for with tax dollars, talking about his efforts to increase jobs in America...since he is actually campaigning for re-election concurrentlly, a cut in charitable donations would go directly to paying for his campaign for a second term in office, by paying for the buses and who knows what else.

    It does not matter who initially thought of cutting the deductions for charitable donations, it really matters who is pushing that idea now, and it appears to be the President.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:29 p.m.

    Private charities like hannity's Freedom Foundation that collected millions for the children of soldiers and then spent the money on consultants and Gulfstream5 jets for hannity and his family?

    Or even "more" legit charities that BRAG, brag mind you that 80% of your donation will get to the country where that cute little kid is. (note how carefull they were to say to the country, not the kid)

    And I have to say that I'm dissapointed that the opening line said it wasn't a religious or political issuse and then the rest of the argumant was religious and political.

    I really better not hear a church leader supporting raising tax revenues when a republican is president because "debt is bad".

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    Funny how so many like Kami, True Blue, interpret to their own design. Elder Oaks acknowledged that charitable donations help provide millions of jobs, affect education, social programs, etc.---none of which have anything to do with tithing in the LDS church.

    The issue is not tithing, it is that Americans be allowed to give to charities of their own will, not be forced to give the money to government to redistribute to its will. The nature of our country would be changed dramatically if charitable deductions are cut or eliminated.

    King, I mean President Obama wants all our money and he will decide how it is spent...I say an emphatic no to that.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    No atl134, they're not the same thing. Tax deductions reduce government revenues. Tax credits increase government expenses. There's a significant difference. Ask your local CPA if you don't understand.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    $13 million for Katrina? Is this the best he has? So that is around one dollar per member, not impressive with the amount of money the mormons roll in. I tend to agree with others that the mormons open there books to the public as most legitimate religions do. What is there to be scared of?

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    This is a business matter and not a charitable matter for the mormons. If the revenue dries up how will the mll or any other ventures be supported? I can imagine how they would be concerned with their current business model.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:30 p.m.

    I do want to make one thing clear after my other posts is that I do support keeping the charitable deductions in place. I just think a spade should be called a spade and that a tax deduction is like a tax expenditure; both are ways of gov't subsidizing something by not collecting the normal tax rate on income one way or another and that both of these, as well as gov't spending on welfare, all increase the deficit in exchange for providing a service/benefit for charitable-type purposes. That doesn't mean it's bad... at least not to me it isn't.

    @Wiley old school
    "Getting a refund for over-estimating your withholding during the year is NOT asking the government to "give money back.""

    Explicitly invoking a tax deduction or tax credit is asking the gov't to give you money back.

    "What you fail to take into account is that these organizations are lightening the burdens placed on the government. "

    Sometimes. For instance, let's say money donated to the LDS church is marked for deductions. Fast offerings, humanitarian aid, church welfare... helps the gov't. But tithing money for construction of churches is not a gov't burden.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:23 p.m.

    Here isa thought, to save money, why don't we get out of our un-necessary wars, instead of betting Iraq if we can stay.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:15 p.m.

    re: Lane Myer

    Perhaps if I gave an example. This of course assumes you also budget. Suppose I have income of $50,000 and a family of 6 to support. I give 10% tithing and an additional 1% alms (fast offering, educational fund, whatever) because I feel morally and religiously inclined to do that regardless of how much money I have. Suppose we assume that the rest of my income is required for family necessities (we won't dicker over defining necessity vs discretionary-because if you have discretionary income, I agree with your point). So at the end of the day, if I receive a tax return because of the deductibility of my 11%, I will have additional discretionary income from my tax return that I will then have to donate to other causes. Make sense?

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 3:59 p.m.

    Oaks made a definitive statement to the nearly empty room. (Of the 24 members of the Senate Committee, only six bothered to attend at all, and none stayed the full two hours. Shameful representation of the people if you ask me.)
    Oaks explained at one point that the money earned and donated by the people belonged to them, not the government. He chided Washington for believing earned money belongs to the government and that a deduction was a benevolent act by our leaders.

  • NT Springville, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 3:50 p.m.


    Your premise that principles must be tied to politics is faulty.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    churches and charitable donations existed long before this country had any income tax, let alone any income tax charitable deduction. if the government does away with this deduction, the charitable giving will survive and continue. those who gave out of genuine charity will continue to give out of genuine charity.

  • VegasBart N. Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 18, 2011 2:59 p.m.

    It's a real scream to read some of these posts and and think that these are part of the voting public. Scary! Most want to lay this idea on Obama and his crew. If you read the whole article, or researched it in any way, you would find out that this proposal was advocated by Rep. Cantor, one of the leaders in the House from Virginia, and funny funny thing, he and the other proponent are both--get ready for this...do I see the symbols ready to clash...Republican big wigs. Oh, the irony!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    "Do a little research...there is a difference between a tax DEDUCTION and a tax CREDIT. A DEDUCTION (unlike the CREDIT) does not result in a "handout" - charitable contributions reduce taxable income, meaning that your tax payment is reduced."

    I am aware of the difference but it does not change the overriding issue to me which is that tax deductions and tax credits both reduce gov't revenue due to directing federal dollars to go to you so you can subsidize something. Tax deductions, tax credits, and gov't spending on things like welfare all increase the deficit.

    "Religion aside, many people pay charitable contributions based on how much they can AFFORD to give. Tax deductions are part of this equation. You take away tax deductions and watch as charitable contributions take a sharp 15-20% decline, which has nothing to do with where their heart is or their intentions - rather it affects the ability to donate. "

    That is true, at least to some extent (I don't think most middle class families calculate donation money based on what they expect to get from the gov't via the deduction, but at the top they're more likely to).

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 2:07 p.m.

    We are still on Bush's tax plan. Obama has not raise anybody's income tax. Not one person pays a higher percentage of tax than they did under Bush, unless their income went up.
    Before you guys comment about Obama, you should really do some homework.

  • OC Misfit Mission Viejo, CA
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    I'm all for changing the laws to require tax-exempt organizations to prove where their tax-exempt income is actually going! Is it really going to charity, or is it being diverted to for-profit enterprises? Right now, religious organizations don't have to prove anything about how their tax-exempt dollars are being spent.

  • Original JP YORBA LINDA, CA
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:56 p.m.


    Your logic is laughable. You say that people shouldn't donate just because of a deduction and you donate only in faith and out of the goodness of your heart. I doubt that very much. You receive many things for being charitable and that is driving force behind it, you expect to receive blessings and eternal gifts for such acts, as is indicated by you and many others who oppose the dedeuction.

    I have provided Christmas for children whose parents or more often single parent cannot provide a single gift. I received a deduction for the donation of gifts to these families. I am not wealthy, so I do what I can. However, if I had not had the deductions, I would not have been able to provide all the children did, I would have been forced to donate less. This is the case with anyone who would like to donate to charities. This results in less funding for charities to do their work, placing the burden on the government when private charities are compromised. Bad idea!

  • sheriffcreg SANDY, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    Religion aside, many people pay charitable contributions based on how much they can AFFORD to give. Tax deductions are part of this equation. You take away tax deductions and watch as charitable contributions take a sharp 15-20% decline, which has nothing to do with where their heart is or their intentions - rather it affects the ability to donate.

    I would much rather see more money in the hands of charities than the Government sticking their dirty hands in that money to make "more enlightened" decisions on how that money should be spent.

    Why would we take that additional incentive away from making donations?

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    Kami: "By allowing a tax deduction for charitable giving, every citizen in this country is being FORCED to support the charities that people are receiving a tax deduction for. That is what is wrong, to me, about the whole aspect of giving the tax deduction. I don't want to have to support the charities my neighbor chooses to deduct, not do I want my neighbor to be forced to support mine."

    Your statement shows the basic problem with liberal thinking: they presume that our money really belongs to the government and the government does better at deciding who should benefit from that money. Anything we get back in the form of a tax deduction is seen as a gift from the government rather than the return of something that is rightfully ours.

    The deduction for charitable giving is simply recognition that society benefits from our giving. You would rather have the government decide who gets my tax dollars. To me that is where force comes in. I think individuals should decide where they want to donate, even if it isn't a cause I support. Besides, the government already gives to many organizations I don't agree with.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    Every charitable organization, even those that do a poor job, do a better job helping the poor and needy than the government does. Most people I know don't mind helping the helpless but they do mind helping the clueless.

  • RED23 Head in the Clouds, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    I will continue to pay tithing no matter what. My problem is the fact that they want to get rid of the charitable giving deduction but not tax the richest members of society. Warren Buffet has more money than most of us combined and even he sees a problem with the taxation rules for the richest members of society. How about we tax everyone equally, get rid of the huge tax breaks for companies that are increasing their profits every quarter, and level out this wonderful economy we live in?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    Deduction or not, I'll still pay my tithing.

    I don't do it for the tax deduction.
    I do it for blessings.
    That is the test.
    That is the sacrifce.

    I see it as putting some feet to the refiners fire.
    Sifting the wheat from the tares.

    Those who love their money more than God wil stop paying their 10%.

    Press on.

  • Neuron Average, SE
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    I think Madden hit the nail on the head. Earlier there were people stating that we should give without reward (we should but we also need to acknowledge that everything we do has some sort of reward - that's just not the best reason to give). If someone pays tithing, for example, and receives 30% back in tax deductions, then couldn't that person just give that extra money to the church or some other charitable organization? That's the purpose of tax deductions for charitable giving - they encourage giving recursively. NGOs and NPOs are usually more efficient than the government. We might or might not like what a government is doing with our money but with charities we can make sure money goes to causes we really support - whatever those causes are.

    The point of Elder Oaks' testimony is that America is unique in part because of its history of giving (something most other countries do not have, at least not to the extent of the U.S.; this is true even for countries with lower tax burdens than the U.S.) The extent of our private giving is unique in the world.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    "Is it a handout to receive a tax deduction? It's only a handout if you don't view your money as your money."

    Does your tax deduction increase the deficit? Yes. Therefore... it's a handout, just a different type of handout than being given welfare (one is you getting money from the gov't in the form of lower taxes, the other is you getting money in the form of some sort of service/money... both have the same affect on the deficit).

  • NT Springville, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    @atl134 and @ClarkKent

    Do a little research...there is a difference between a tax DEDUCTION and a tax CREDIT. A DEDUCTION (unlike the CREDIT) does not result in a "handout" - charitable contributions reduce taxable income, meaning that your tax payment is reduced. It is lumped with other DEDUCTIONS such as your home mortgage interest, certain other taxes paid, certain employee expenses, possibly some medical expenses, etc.

    Again, it boils down to who gets to use other people's money to re-distribute. IN approximately 100% of the cases I am aware of, charitable organizations are more efficient AND more effective than the federal government at this.

    Of course, if you are one of those who do not make charitable contributions and who rely more on the assistance (redistribution) of the gov't, then I can see why you have the viewpoint that you do.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    I will still give if the tax deduction is removed, but I can promise you that as a family at the end of the year, we give more because of the deduction - it is built into our budget.

    So yes, we should donate, and do it out of the goodness of our hearts, but the exact amount to give is often determined by using simple accounting, and removing the deductions means changing the amount I would give. The math is easy to follow, not sure why so many people on here attack a straw man argument on the topic.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:24 p.m.

    @Clark Kent - I merely mentioned LDS since this forum is naturally aimed that direction. Certainly there will be others who follow their convictions and continue to pay to churches or charities, but I seriously doubt the numbers will keep up if the deduction is done away with. Many many people look to this deduction as a way to decrease their taxable income, those are the people who will stop giving.

  • Jared Average, SE
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    Re: atl134

    Is it a handout to receive a tax deduction? It's only a handout if you don't view your money as your money.

    Here's what Elder Oaks said about this issue (you say "handout", he says "tax expenditure" - it's the same thing): "Some economists and other scholars contend that this is, in effect, a tax expenditure because tax revenues are reduced by the benefit granted. In other words, because the government could have denied the charitable deduction there is a government expenditure in its granting the deduction and forgoing the revenue. By that reasoning the personal income we think is ours is really the governments because of its choice not to take it away by taxation. That is surely an attitude not shared by most Americans."

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    Take all of that into consideration and we end up being taxed on 50% of our income nationally. Add in many's charitable contributions and you can see our money basically disappears. You take away this tax break and overall the charitiable contributions across the country will decrease drastically. This means now all of the funding must come through the government. So how do they resolve this problem, increase our Federal Income Tax to what the charitiable contributions would have been. Now all the giving is intangilled in Red tape and the govenment decides who gets what and when. United Way, the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and others would all of a sudden CEASE to exist. Is that really what you liberals want to get rid of. If so, then see how the rest of the world does and the United States will be a third would country.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    Considering that not all those members give donations then for those who do it is greater than that.

    We are taught that blessings come to us when we give freely of ourselves. We give because the Lord promises untold blessings shall be given to us. I count as many, one of those blessings is to releave the tax burden we pay at the end of the year.

    I wonder how many of you recognize that an individual in the middle class pays anywhere from 10-20 percent of their annual income in taxes to the Government. Additionally they pay about 5-10 percent in state taxes on top of that. This doesn't count the amount paid into Social Security and Medicare of which there is no deduction. Overall most citizens are paying from 15-30% of all income in taxes. These leaves the individual anywhere from 65-85% to spend their own money. However, every time they go to the store they pay a sales tax which is from 4-8% of what they buy. They pay taxes for gasoline, cigarettes, alcohol and other items. They must also pay property taxes for their homes.

    Oct. 18, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    And how many billions did obama usher out the door a couple of weeks ago to his pet green jobs? I think 7 billion! I do not want to give him any more money until we know where all the rest of the money went. Did it go to his boundlers, his re-election committee, his unions, his pet projects, where exactly? If you look at the amount of donations the dem admin gives - it is a shock, but then a lot of them don't worry about paying their fair share - right Geitner?
    If you anti's will get your head on straight and look at all the good that churches and organizations do you would see the money is best used in the communities and not sent to Wasington to take their share!

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    I'm sure the proposed "complicated formula" will include denying less politically correct institutions their duly earned tax exempt status. We all smell a rat in that scheme. Thank you Elder Oaks.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    To eliminate the charitable deduction is to eliminate many charities. That will in turn make the needy more dependent on the nanny state. That's what socialists want. It will help destroy our nation as we know it.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    To those that feel by paying to these charities shouldn't be taxed. Well lets take a look at Brad Pitt, Anglie Jolie and many other celebs that pronounce their contributions in the millions of dollars. One they are able to and second it gives them a tax deduction. Both of the names mentioned are liberals who generally will flaunt their money but are generous as well. What do you think would happen if you take away their tax break? Do you really think they will continue to give? There are so many different charities for the celebs to give too. The thing is many give just so they get that tax deduction. Elder Oaks brings out that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints donated around 13 million dollars to the relief effort of Hurricane Katrina. This doesn't include the man hours that were done out of generousity to help clean up and rebuild along the entire Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. That in and of itself was another million dollars. Taking that a full membership means that every member gave 1 million dollars to the relief effort of Hurricane Katrina.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    can you spell Katrina?
    I'm thrilled that the government will handle all needs of US citizens. They have a stellar record.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:49 a.m.

    aMEN ATL134 .. but look at how they rationalize. Amazing!

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    Paul in MD mentioned the word "afford". Sadly, that's what it sometimes comes down to.

    Many, of all economic levels, want to be charitable.

    Obama's way would reduce the ability of some, to put their hard earned money into programs and causes THEY personally find important--and instead force it to fund programs and causes and Pres. Obama find important.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    To Done That and Others,

    Actually I think many of you are choosing to look at this issue with blinders on. By allowing a tax deduction for charitable giving, every citizen in this country is being FORCED to support the charities that people are receiving a tax deduction for. That is what is wrong, to me, about the whole aspect of giving the tax deduction. I don't want to have to support the charities my neighbor chooses to deduct, not do I want my neighbor to be forced to support mine. This whole concept of receiving a charitable deduction is not all that old. People gave before it. People will continue to give if it were abolished. Apparently some one you have little faith in whether or not American even have charitable hearts.

  • Mickey Houston, TX
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:33 a.m.

    Kami and DeltaFoxTrot- so what you are saying is the Federal Government is more efficient at administering relief than private non-profits and charities?! That's laughable. Of course the government is more inefficient because it has to rely on PAID employees to administer relief/programs while charities by in large rely on Volunteers! We don't need less charities in this country we need more! I'm for increasing the deduction because right now if you don't go over the standard exemption ($11k) you're already in the same boat as everyone else. Part of the reason they give a tax break for charitable contributions is because it REDUCES the pressure on the Federal Government to provide those same services!
    And you want to talk about fair? Is it fair that certain people receive food stamps and welfare who don't really need them? Is it fair that government favors certain special interests (like Solyndra) and gives them guaranteed loans that they'll never pay back? Is it fair that parents who'll never send their kids to college subsidize the parents and kids that do? As long as the government is in charge of doling out the resources, nothing ever will be fair.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    I didn't realize conservatives loved gov't handouts so much (and that's all these tax deductions are).

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Elder Oaks is probably one of the most brilliant people on the face of the earth. Please listen and read his writings. The Government is ill equipped to render aid to those in need. Giving money and goods to the LDS church, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America is worthwhile because their leaders don't skim huge paychecks for themselves and their decision making process is almost instantanious. I am sure other religious organizations operate in the same manner.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Some believe that the government is best able to decide how to distribute money to those in need, from those who have. They are called "socialists" or "communists."

    Others believe that whatever a person earns by their hard work, or skillful investments, is theirs to do with as they please. That includes funding churches, abortion clinics, animal shelters, food kitchens, public TV stations, museums, Boy Scouts or even churches. They have no obligation to donate to any or all of these, and recipients should be very grateful for whatever is given to them. This is called "freedom."

    The "end the tax breaks" crowd fails to realize that if donor "A" decided to give away $1 million, currently the charity gets $1 million. If no longer tax deductible, and there is a 35% tax rate, then donor "A" will probably only give $650,000 because the government will be taking the other $350,000.

    It is interesting that studies show that the "liberals" demanding more taxes seem to be significantly less generous in making charitable contributions than conservatives. Spending other people's money is easier than spending your own.

    Keep the deduction! And, give generously to your choice of charity.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    United Way has held companies and employees hostage to contribute will be crushed if the donation deduction is eliminated. To all those that think the LDS church should not be tax exempt, fine. Then I believe the Church should stop building seminaries all over Utah. The increase of property tax will skyrocket as more teachers and class rooms will be needed to provide for the students that otherwise have been taken care of during that hour. Good luck. Libs may get what they are looking for and like this administration, it will be disasterous.

  • CareyF MESA, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    The purpose of the tax break is for the US Govt to allow its citizens to allocate the money to the charities that they feel are of greatest importance to them, which I suggest is better since your more emotionally involved in terms of time and personal involvement with the organizations you directly give money to.

    If we eliminate the tax break, all we're really doing in increasing the tax rate on individuals, and shifting the right and responsibility of where the tax money goes from our hands to the government.

    While most I suspect will still pay their tithing, they will then have less to money to direct toward other worthy causes. In the end, it won't be the church that loses out as much as other charities those "tax" dollars compete with.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    It sounds quite noble to say people should only give to charity "...out of the the goodness of their heart," but the fact of the matter is, everyone benefits from non-profit charities whether we realize it or not.

    Throughout the country, there are non-profit organizations which have built playgrounds, donated money for libraries, helped injured people with blood donations, assisted with cancer and other disease research, given grants to drug addiction and alcoholic treatment facilities, assisted women who have been victims of domestic violence and helped girls who have suffered from eating disorders.

    You may not think you're a direct benefactor from someone's charitable giving, but I'll bet in one way or another you are and you would feel it if that work of charity disappeared.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    Incorporated organized religion is one of the world's biggest business and they should be taxed the same as every other business.

  • Done That Monroe, CT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    Lane and Kami, you need to look at things in a much greater perspective than just religious donations. For the most part non-profits do a MUCH better job then government in helping people/organizations in need. Plus outside the LDS church , believe me there are a lot of folks that would cut back on their donations if they were taxed by the government, probably even some LDS as well. Again unintended consequences from new laws usually have a very negative effect on our freedom and our ability to help those we CHOOSE to help. I would rather have make that decision versus the bureaucrats.

  • Article-Reader Spanish Fork, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    It seems to me that most people are forgetting that up until 1913 there wasn't a personal income tax code in the United States. Taxes were charged on imports in the form of tariffs, and alcoholic beverages were taxed as well. In fact, when this country was formed there was no federal tax on the citizens as well, but citizens were encouraged to donate to the government. My how things have changed.

    "It is the duty of every citizen of these Thirteen Colonies to pay the absolute least amount of taxes possible!" Benjamin Franklin

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    @Johnny Triumph, I'm curious as to why you apparently think that LDS are the only people on the block who would continue to give if they could no longer receive a tax deduction. Do you REALLY believe that?

  • justaguy Out There in, WI
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:59 a.m.

    I think what Oaks is bringing out is that the support to those in need in our country will be significantly reduced if the charitiable deduction is reduced or eliminated. I don't think he's so much worried about the LDS or any other church having their income reduced as much as the help given to those in need being reduced. Back a few weeks ago when the FEMA funding was on the line over the then-latest example of government gridlock it was suggested by some that disaster aid should be given by the government even if it meant borrowing. Of course there were objections, loud and long. Now we're hearing voices say we should reduce the ability of the private sector to render aid? That's nuts. Let's not make it harder to help others, okay? It's already a sacrifice, let's not make it more so if we can help it.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    @Kami 10:13

    Regardless of whether you deduct your tithing from your taxes or not, the fact of the matter is, you still get something back when you pay your tithing. Every Sunday, you get to attend church in a comfortable, air-conditioned building. Every time you attend the temple, you get to perform work in a well built, inspiring structure. Every time you read a church magazine or visit a church website or send a child off to a seminary or Institute class, you're getting something back from tithing.

    The fact of the matter is, tax deductions are no different. There are many people who are on very fixed incomes and to strip away the opportunity for them to benefit from their charitable giving would be the same as taking away church buildings or other church structures because the church should only spend its money on the poorest of the poor.

    @DeltaFoxtrot 10:32

    Should we also eliminate per child tax credits? Should we eliminate tax breaks for new businesses? Should we eliminate every tax deduction there is or just the ones that don't negatively effect you?

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:54 a.m.

    Kami and others,

    What do you believe the purpose of government is, if not to encourage the behavior that is seen by the majority of its citizens as beneficial to society? Can I assume that if you're against the government encouraging people to act charitably, you are similarly against the government encouraging people and companies to act responsibly towards the planet with its EPA regulations or encouraging Wall Street investors to act responsibly with regulations?

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    Ending this deduction would effectively end most charitable giving in the US. This is yet another example of Obama and company forgetting about the truly poor of our country, those that are helped by charitable and non-profit organizations. This has nothing to do with LDS continuance to pay tithing, we'll do that regardless of tax deduction, but the total amounts given to charity by non-LDS people have to just be staggering; to lose that large amount of giving would escalate pressures on welfare programs to supplement the loss. This is a terrible idea and obviously hasn't been thoroughly examined. Obama is not treading water very well at this point.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:38 a.m.


    I'm with Kami. It does not make any difference whether it is for religious tithes or GIVING to the Boy Scouts or the cancer Institute. It is suppose to be done without wanting anything back in return. Isn't this what Americans are like? Why do we need something in return?

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    People who donate to charitable causes should not be doing so because they get a tax break for it. This is one loophole that needs to be closed. You donate out of the goodness of your heart and a genuine desire to help others, if you do it for the tax break that's the wrong reason and organizations would probably be better off without your money.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    Although I doubt too many folks will stop paying tithing if the Federal government takes away that deduction, it will have a negative effect on other types of donations, in the church to some degree but far more outside the church.

    There are many people who want to give, but do count on a tax break in order to be able to afford it.

    Closer to home, losing that deduction means I would have less to spend to support my family, meaning cuts in my budget across the board. There isn't much left to cut these days, and what I don't spend stops going to local businesses.

  • Abe Sarvis Cedar City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    While it's true that Democrats like to tax tax tax, let's not forget that it's the Republicans in congress, led by Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, who want to do away with the charitable donation deduction - although they might allow it to remain for those with incomes above $5 million, because, after all, those are the people who make the largest charitable donations. Besides, if you let the rabble deduct charitable donations, they might donate to things that Republicans don't like.

  • Cougar Blue N. Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:28 a.m.

    To patriot: Wow, I think you just shucked the corn and got to the kernel. If they don't get a tax break, they won't pay their tithing? Well maybe that's just something they should take up with the Lord. Tax, tax, tax, that's Obama's way. If you would look, you'd find our personal tax rates are now at their lowest point since 1950, so stop this moaning and groaning about taxes. It's become a crutch for those too lazy to do some research on their own. Secondly, the Republican manifesto says we should "pay our own way." Why do you think the gentiles want to subsidize with their taxes, our tithing and fast offerings? Isn't that what the teaparty people think, unless of course it's going to take money out of thine own pocket. You can't have things both ways. You pay tithing because you're asked to do so by the Lord, not because you might get a tax break for doing it. Where are your priorities? Or is it, "where your money lies, there also lies thy heart?

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    re: Kami

    Perhaps you missed the part about this extending well beyond religious tithes.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    Sorry Elder Oaks, but I'll have to disagree with your position on this matter. And if you are saying that paying tithing partially occurs because someone receives a charitable donation for it, then I guess you are saying that the reasons we are taught in church to pay tithing aren't the real reasons here? I have been a member of the LDS church all my life and I do not believe that real charity involves a mindset of being able to get a tax donation. I have NEVER deducted one cent of tithing or any other charitable donation on my income taxes. You see, somehow I don't think it is fair that the government (meaning all the rest of the population in this country) should have to give me back one third of the tithing that I pay to my church. I think that is WRONG and I fully support eliminating all deduction for charitable donations. If that changes an individual's decision to give, so be it. It won't change my decision to give. Some people learn what true charity is; others don't. Its time people step up to the plate and give without any expectation of receiving anything back.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    The fed gov under Obama is all about tax tax tax. That is the way all socialist countries work... tax tax tax and then let the gov decide where they want to distribute the wealth. That is NOT America but it is Obama. Elder Oaks is rightly concerned with the possible change to charitable contributions and perhaps not being able to deduct those contributions on your tax return.Many people in the LDS church will continue to pay tithing regardless but there will be many who will not pay tithing if they can't deduct that contribution on the their taxes which will greatly impact the Church and its ability to build and grow.