3/06/2006

Christian TV empire savors a tax blessing

One of the local housings of the Trinity Broadcasting Network got a break from the courts here in TN. Now that they can be considered a church and not an entertainment complex, they don't have to pay property taxes, but the city in which it's situated will have to pay TBN back $300K.

It's A Nice Gig If You Can Get It!

A ruling that means Sumner County and the city must refund the theme park-like Trinity Broadcasting Network complex here more than $300,000 in taxes ends an 11-year skirmish and gives the colorful owners much of what they’ve wanted — status as a church.

Under an administrative judge’s decision approved by a state commission last month, televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch have the state’s blessing to stop paying property taxes on their auditorium. It is familiar to millions of TBN viewers worldwide as one location of the Praise the Lord show, a glitz-filled mix of prayer, musical entertainment and requests for money.


What's interesting is a poll that was included on the online newspaper The Tennessean about this. Readers were asked: Should satellite mininstries like the TBN complex in Hendersonville pay property taxes?

83% said Yes!!!

The Tennessean was also kind enough to post some exemptions churches get:

Exemptions in Tennessee for certified churches
• Tax on property so long as it’s used for religious activities or is a parsonage. Trinity Broadcasting Network’s auditorium, where services and revivals are held and the Praise the Lord show is broadcast, are deemed exempt, but not its gift shop.
• Items purchased – sofas, dishwashers, liquor, a Cadillac or others – are sales-tax-free so long as they are for the church’s use.
• A church can buy bricks and other building materials tax-free and, unlike other nonprofits, can provide the materials for a church project to a contractor without him having to pay sales tax. That goes for carpet also.
• A person can buy a television or other item tax-free if he’s going to donate it to a church.
• A church with a restaurant can buy food at a market tax-free, but the customers would have to pay sales tax on the price of the meal. Activities that are not regular, such as an occasional bake sale, can be carried out without charging sales taxes.
• A church can buy items tax-free to sell in a gift shop. That includes everything from the SUV-shaped car deodorizer along with cross necklaces found at the Trinity Broadcasting Network gift shop. But, the church must charge sales tax to its customers.
• Federal income tax

Source: Tennessee Department of Revenue and IRS

Like I said...NICE GIG!!! If you can get it.

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