American Atheists goes after tax-exempt status

That’s probably why Dave Silverman is on Hannity tonight, which he is.

Anyway – yessssssssss. AA is suing the IRS.

American Atheists and two co-plaintiffs today filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky a lawsuit demanding that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stop giving preferential treatment to churches and religious organizations via the process of receiving non-profit tax-exempt status under the Internal Revue Code (IRC) procedures and definitions.

“American Atheists receives tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3),” said American Atheists President David Silverman, “but because the organization is not classified as religious it costs American Atheists, along with all other secular non-profits, significantly more money each year to keep that status. In this lawsuit, American Atheists and the other plaintiffs are  demanding that all tax-exempt organizations, including those characterized as religious by the IRS, have the same requirements to achieve tax-exempt status.”

For example, in order to qualify for nonprofit tax-exempt status, any religious or secular organization must demonstrate it exists to benefit the public. After that basic element is established, religious non- profits are almost always declared automatically tax-exempt under the current IRC rules and definitions. However, secular non-profits face a lengthy application and a fee, which can be as high as $850.

“Religious organizations and churches are treated differently from secular organizations,” explained American Atheists National Legal Director Edwin Kagin. “The exemptions are applied in a way that discriminates solely on the basis of whether an entity’s members express beliefs and practices accepted as religious. The IRS treats your organization better if you profess belief in a supernatural deity.”

It needs to stop!


  1. Suido says

    This is exactly what national-level secular lobbying groups should be doing in every country. Hitting em in the hip pocket.

  2. John Kruger says

    This could be an enormous victory for secularism. No doubt there is going to be a LOT of money allied against AA’s effort. Political/Religious engines are one of the biggest problems this country has in my estimation. It will be a great day when they once again have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

  3. Sassafras says

    ERV’s dog learned to spam? Teaching him to shake hands would have been a better trick, but I guess that’s too friendly.

  4. Didaktylos says

    As a matter of interest, which would be preferable – that secular organisations should find the process equally easy as churches or that churches should find the process as difficult as non-churches?

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