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Comments about ‘Mitt Romney hopes millions he tithes to LDS Church isn't politicized’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 24 2012 11:50 a.m. MST

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DRay
Roy, UT

overall Romney shows great character, interesting that so many do not view that as important in a President...it seems that lately the voters like the edgy candidate, one that has some mistakes in the past, as compared to one who has been conistent and steadfast.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@USMNT

I'm glad to see you have apparently done some research and are now backing off of your assertion above that "it is inaccurate to say they [GA's] are paid".

However, your recharacterazation of the original point being "the church has plenty of other business income and endowments that are used to pay these modest stipends" is not correct. If you look carefully above, you will see that the discussion of stipends began when Archi said "clergy are not paid" and Truthseeker correctly pointed out that GA's are paid. This cause a stir among some posters who apparently don't know what goes on in their own religion. For example Casguy said "LDS paid clergy? Not a chance." You said "I think you are trying to make the way stipend is defined to imply GAs are paid."

Now perhaps some of us have learned something and we can move on to substanitive topics like perhaps Romney's attempts to call his service income "capital gain" income just because it gets taxed at the same preferential rate. I can understand why he wants to keep the gravy train going, but as a tax professional, I find it deceptive.

USMNT
LAYTON, UT

Re:The Taxman

And you still will not admit there is a difference between a modest living allowance and a salary. So I understand full well who I am dealing with.

I can't speak for the other posters, but I think most LDS know their leaders are NOT paid regular salaries, so do not put words in people's mouths.

You can't pound a square block through a round hole.

awsomeron
Waianae, HI

If you make so little income that you can fill out the short form or the EZ (means broke) form, then you do not have much to say in this manner.

Instead of finding out from pros what can be decuted from you income, you ask people like yourself who like you lack knowledge and or income.

It is not the fault of the Tax Payer that the Government allows deductions and has loop holes. The Tax payer did not write the Tax Code the Government did. In part to encourage certain types of spending such as buying a house.

If I take my Mortage Interest it knocks me down several tax brackets, then the kids, then uniforms then some other things. So instead of paying or breaking evan, we get thousands back, which we then use to pay bills and buy things, save, and Tithe. Right Now Medical Co-Pays are eating me alive so i have to start tracking those. You can also deduct sales tax. The idea if you can is to pay 0, and the Government sometimes lets you.

Like my sister in law going to the store with coupons.

idablu
Idaho Falls, ID

I hate to shake your faith, but 1aggie is right and casguy is wrong. It is extremely naive to think that all general authorities and mission presidents are independently wealthy and don't take an "income" or a "stipend" plus travel or church related expenses. These are full-time callings so I really have no problem with it. In fact I know mission presidents and general authorities who have received such a stipend, and I know how much, but I am not going to fan the flames by mentioning it here. Yes it is modest by today's corporate standards, but it is decent.

rightascension
Provo, UT

Mitt Romney's tax return, which ran to 500 plus pages, teaches us a couple of things. 1) the tax law is such that his 13.9% tax rate is completely legal. Don't blame Mitt: blame Congress for concocting the tax law. 2) The rich can use tax codes and various offshore and Swiss banks to define profits such they can tithe at 6.74%.

intlbizman2
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA

rightascension said, "Don't blame Mitt: blame Congress for concocting the tax law."

Here's a little history. In 2007, Congress tried to change the rule that lets Mitt pay 13.9%. Mitt came out publicly against the change and Bain Capital (along with a group of 11 similar firms who call themsevles "The Private Equity Council") lobbied heavily against the change. The bill was killed and the plunder continues.

So I think it's appropriate to hold Mitt a little responsible for the 13.9% tax rate he pays on the $57K he earns each day.

intlbizman2
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA

During my career, I have twice lobbied Congress to change a law (which included travelling to DC, hiring lobbists, and drafting the change we wanted).

It amuses me to read some of the above comments like "don't blame Mitt for his low rate" because I know how the system works. If you have enough money you can get about any provision you want into the Internal Revenue Code (and Mitt and his private equity buddies had enough money) and then kill any attempt to change it.

The history is clear. Mitt has actively tried to influence legislation to benefit himself (his pocketbook) personally. This disqualifies him from recieving my vote for the most important office in the world, because based on past experience (and his current behavior) he has no compunction against dipping his paws in the cookie jar.

O'really
Idaho Falls, ID

@ Ranch Hand Hundreds? Did you interview them all and take a poll?

Christy
Beaverton, OR

Darn. I'm late to the game here.

When he himself equates his 'charitable giving' with the taxes he paid, in order to make his 'contribution to society' appear larger than 15%, HE is politicizing his 'tithing', which also, isn't the same thing as 'charitable giving'. He _has_ to tithe (not saying he doesn't want to) to be in good standing as a member of the Church.

vic
Colorado Springs, CO

Christy:

You bet he is policizing this by releasing his tax forms. It is only to satisfy the anti-Romney or the anti-Mormon crowd.

It is just like in the last election when he made the statement referred to as the JFK speech. It was to satisfy the anti-mormon crowd.

Afterall, you do not see any other politician releasing their tax forms or their "JFK" speech - right? It is to satisfy the anti-mormon crowd.

Just Another Guy
Washington, Utah

Just a note: Their may be other good charities to donate to but the LDS Church has no paid ministry and what the LDS Church takes in and how they use the funds are taken very seriously.
Unlike most other non profits and charities the funds given to the LDS Church are actually used for charitable causes and not wasted or paying salaries to Non profit officers.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

It is true that some General Authorities and some Mission Presidents receive a modest stipend. What isn't being said is that it depends on where these individuals live and the mission. Mission Presidents are called for three years, this is not a permanent calling by any means. Temple Presidents are called for three years as well and are furnished a home within easy walking of the temple itself. What is this stipend? Basically room and board for living expenses. It also pays for their travel around the world. Who pays for this? Members Tithing. However, all stake presidents, bishops, branch presidents and others are not paid for their service. The General Authorities are generally members of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency. Very few members of the Seventy although there are some.

This is not a salary but strickly for living expenses and travel expenses. To say it is a paid clergy at all is totally wrong. They are not being paid to be members of the Twelve or the First Presidency. So it is wrong and even misleading to say such.

WorkerBee
RIGBY, ID

@Just Another Guy

I agree with you but watch out. From reading the previous comments there are some posters who would love to argue with you endlessly about why they think a stipend is the same as a regular paid salary. Let the spin begin right.

Especially since stipend payments are not considered wages and have no Federal withholding tax deducted from them and are not reported as wages on a W2 form.

But it is really a moot point since tithing is not used to provide the stipends as LDS business income and other large endowments to the church cover those.

And tithe paying LDS consider their donations the Lord's money anyways.

don17
Temecula, CA

Bill in Nebraska: A very good explaination of the topic.

Its too bad Mitt Romney has to have his charitable donations attacked. Doing good is bad? Hmm.

intlbizman2
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA

@workerbee
Please cite your authority for your statement "Especially since stipend payments are not considered wages and have no Federal withholding tax deducted from them and are not reported as wages on a W2 form."

I am a CPA with an Masters in Taxation and I believe cash renumeration payments made to priests, ministers, etc. in whatever form are generally subject to federal income tax (and includable on Form W-2 or 1099). The only exclusion relates to housing (parsonage).

bluejean
Farmington, UT

I was somewhat critical of Romney's hesitation in releasing his tax info but after reading these posts and others, I completely understand. I feel for the Romneys. I'm sure that it was a sore realization as they debated the consequenses that would surely come from the disclosure of their taxes, charitable donations, but particularly their sacred tithing offerings.

Protecting the privacy of this matter may have cost him the election. But there was no other option but to disclose and then hope that it would not be politicized. Which request has not been honored. In the end its clear that Romney had nothing to hide, that there was nothing wrong or illegal. We learned that the Romneys are nonetheless faithful tithe payers and give the full Biblical tenth of their sizable income. Something that really should be between them and God.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

To intlbizman2: Read my comments above. They are not wages. This stipend is not a salary. Therefore, it is not subject to W2 wages. They are not being paid to preach or anything. It is paid by donated funds, so their is nothing that needs to be reported to the IRS. As I said it is for living expenses and travel expenses only. A home for some is even provided for them to stay whether it is an apartment or an actual house. Most General Authorities that are provided a place to live will be an apartment. The Mission President and the Temple President are furnished a house. Bought and paid for by the LDS Church. In fact, if one looks carefully at current aerial views of the KC Temple area, the single house built currently is the Temple Presidents house. It is nice and conveinent to the temple. The other homes will resemble this one.

Don't worry about taxes as it really is none of yours or mu business. The Church has sufficient lawyers and CPAs to determine if there are any taxes.

WorkerBee
RIGBY, ID

@intlbizman2

Bill in Nebraska is right.

Directly from the IRS: Ministers Audit Technique Guide, publication date April 2009

"A minister is frequently provided a parsonage or is paid a housing allowance, which is exempt from income tax under IRC § 107."

Just for clarification, they may actually still have to report it. My only point was a stipend is treated differently than a regular paid salary required to be reported as wages on a W2 form. Fair enough?

floridadan
Palm Bay, Fl

It is rediculous to be discussing a persons tithing. Mabe people should look to where their tithing money is going to. Is it to build churches, help the needy, or going into the pocket of a minister who lives in a mansion !

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