How do you tax religious communists engaged in capitalism through an exempt religious corporation? The Stahl Hutterian Brethren is a 65-member community of Hutterites
that runs a 30,000 acre farm in Washington. The community is incorporated as a religious corporation. Its members give all their "time, labor, services, earnings, and energies" to the community. They disavow individual property ownership, draw no salary, and do not contribute to or collect Social Security benefits. Instead, the community provides for its members' personal needs. And now it is the subject of the most fascinating 9th Circuit tax case [PDF]
you'll read this year!
But before you dig into the 9th Circuit opinion, here's a great summary and commentary by law professor Shaun Martin
. The case addresses the very tricky question of whether, as employees of a non-profit religious corporation, the community members should be allowed to deduct their living expenses, which are paid for by the corporation (they're communists, after all). Tricky additional fact: The 65-member community is all one big family.
posted by The World Famous
on Dec 13, 2010 -