We need to understand the perception of the church world by people outside our communities. Particularly important to consider now are the perceptions of those with regulatory power. The report from Sen. Charles Grassley’s staff of the Senate Finance Committee has opened up discussion of expanded regulation and oversight of churches.
The committee report has started a discussion at the national level of:
- whether churches should report to the IRS on something like a Form 990, as used by non-church 501(c)(3) organizations,
- whether limits or changes are needed on pastoral housing allowances,
- whether restrictions on political involvement should be lifted,
- what limits should be in place for the IRS to start a church audit, and
- how to handle tax reporting of love gifts.
It would be worth your time to browse the staff report, which is the “memo to Senator Grassley” link on the top right corner of this page. You could read the first few pages to get a feel for the perceptions in play and then browse the rest.