IRS Won’t Revoke Tax-Exempt Status Of Same-Sex Opposed Orgs

Rachel Stoltzfoos | Managing Editor, The Daily Caller News Foundation

The IRS will not revoke tax-exempt status of organizations opposed to same-sex marriage, Commissioner John Koskinen said in a recent letter to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

“The IRS does not intend to change the standards that apply to section 501(c)(3) organizations by reason of the Obergefell [same-sex marriage] decision,” Koskinen wrote.

During oral arguments of the Supreme Court case, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli implied charitable organizations, including churches and schools, could lose their tax-exempt status if they refuse to approve of same-sex marriage.

Pastors from a number of Christian denominations have promised to defy the ruling, saying they will not perform same-sex marriages. (RELATED: Southern Baptists Promise To Defy Same-Sex Marriage Laws)

Pruitt cited Verrilli’s comments in a July letter to Koskinen and demanded clarification from the IRS on the matter.

“A formal statement of your agency’s position would assure tens of millions of Americans and thousands of religious institutions that their religious beliefs are not under attack by their own government,” he wrote, threatening to turn to Congress if he didn’t get a timely response to his letter.

Koskinen told Pruitt the IRS had no plans to revoke tax-exempt status based on the ruling. (RELATED: IRS Pays National Organization For Marriage $50K For Leaking Info To Gay Marriage Group)

“The IRS does not view Obergefell [same-sex ruling] as having changed the law applicable to section 501(c)(3) determinations or examinations,” he wrote. “Therefore, the IRS will not, because of this decision, change existing standards in reviewing applications for recognition of exemption under section 501(c)(3) or in examining the qualification of section 501(c)(3) organizations.” (RELATED: Gay Marriage Proponents See Three Main Fears Of Church Leaders As ‘Completely Fake Drama’)

Pruitt will “trust but verify” Koskinen’s comments, he said in a statement Wednesday, to ensure Americans aren’t “targeted unfairly for exercising their religious beliefs in accordance with the First Amendment.”

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