by Jac La Tour

What are the chances that the clergy housing allowance could be eliminated? Or that church exemptions to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) annual reporting requirements (such as Form 990) could end? If the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has its way in court, these longstanding tax code provisions would be deemed unconstitutional.

Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), reports the details of FFRF lawsuits in a recent Religion Today article. “Depending on the outcomes,” he writes, “these cases could have drastic legal, tax, and finance implications for every congregation throughout the United States.”

Besides challenges to the clergy housing exemption and church exemptions to IRS application and reporting requirements, a third FFRF case seeks stricter IRS enforcement of the political campaign prohibition.

While Busby says it’s too early to know the implications of these court challenges for churches and clergy, they do underscore a trend toward such litigation in “an increasingly irreligious society.”

These are just a few of the legislative, tax, economic, and cultural developments Busby and other noted presenters* will address at the upcoming Financial Forums for Ministries, co-presented by CapinCrouse LLP and ECCU. The 2013 financial forums include five events, three in California (San Diego, San Jose, and Brea), one in Colorado Springs, and one in Chicago.

You can learn more about these events at

* Presenters and topics covered will vary by location.

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