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President repeals church ‘parking lot tax’

President Trump has signed the repeal of a tax law Congress passed that penalized churches and non-profits that had parking lots. The “parking lot tax” was an unintended aspect of the 2017 tax cut measure and was criticized by Trump who had called on Congress to change it in a bi-partisan way.

The draconian measure required churches, synagogues, mosques and other nonprofits to pay a 21 percent tax on employee benefits such as parking spaces and public transportation subsidies.

The repeal was a part of appropriations bills for the new year, passed by both the House and Senate.  Since the bill is retroactive, the IRS will provide instructions on how churches can claim a refund on taxes they paid for the last two years because of the “parking lot tax.”

Religious leaders from all faiths praised President Trump, Republicans and Democrats for working together to end the unfair tax.

This repeal comes as a welcome relief for millions of Americans, lifting this burden from nonprofits and houses of worship around the country. – Russell Moore

“This repeal comes as a welcome relief for millions of Americans, lifting this burden from nonprofits and houses of worship around the country,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “Churches must never again be seen as untapped sources of government revenue.”

Moore also thanked Trump, House and Senate leaders, as well as other elected officials, who “worked hard on this issue. And I’m glad to see the President formalize this repeal with his signature.”

“In these contentious days, finding a bipartisan area of agreement in Congress is worth celebrating,” he said.

The President had stated his concerns that the tax would hurt the good works that religious organizations do in their communities by putting an additional burden on their staff. The original tax was especially harmful to inner-city black churches where parking is a premium or whose employees used public transit to access their jobs.

–Dwight Widaman and wire services

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