Press Releases

DelBene, Huffman Call on IRS to Review Tax-Exempt ‘Church Status’ for Known Hate Group

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Jared Huffman (CA-02) led 38 of their colleagues in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig urging the IRS to review the status of the Family Research Council (FRC) as a tax-exempt “association of churches.” They also called on the IRS to determine whether existing guidance is sufficient to prevent abuse of IRS church status.

The letter was sent following investigative reporting that uncovered the FRC’s church status application and subsequent approval by the IRS.

“We understand the importance of religious institutions to their congregants and believe that religious freedom is a cherished American value and constitutional right. We also believe that our tax code must be applied fairly and judiciously. Tax-exempt organizations should not be exploiting tax laws applicable to churches to avoid public accountability and the IRS’s examination of their activities,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

The members went on to request that the IRS:

  1. Swiftly review the status of the Family Research Council
  2. Review whether there are other political advocacy organizations that have obtained church status, but do not satisfy the IRS requirements for churches, integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches
  3. Improve the review process for organizations seeking church status to ensure that organizations that are not churches cannot abuse the tax code
  4. Determine whether existing guidance is sufficient to prevent abuse and what resources or Congressional actions are needed to ensure adequate implementation and enforcement moving forward

The letter can be found here.