Comments about ‘Elder Oaks testifies before Senate committee, defends charitable deductions’

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Published: Tuesday, Oct. 18 2011 9:00 a.m. MDT

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Heber City, UT

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.

Layton, UT

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)

Layton, UT

...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.

O\'Fallon, IL

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.

Saint George, UT

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

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.

Somewhere in the USA, UT

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.

Layton, UT

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.

Orem, Utah

@ 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!

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

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!


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...

Head in the Clouds, UT

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.

Layton, UT

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.


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!

Littleton, CO

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.

Phoenix, AZ

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.

Provo, UT


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."

Miami Area, Fl

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.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

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

Flying Finn
Murray, UT

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.

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