IRS Action against Presbyterian Church USA

In December 2014, Shurat HaDin filed a legal complaint with the IRS against the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) that seeks to revoke the organization’s tax-free status. 

In June 2014, culminating a decade of activism supporting the BDS movement, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA) passed an anti-Israel resolution calling for divestment from companies doing business in Israel. This led to divestiture of around $21 million of PCUSA’s shares in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions.

In response, Shurat HaDin filed a complaint with the IRS to revoke the tax-free status of the church, alleging that PCUSA violated its own mission statement by engaging in political advocacy and taking positions on the geo-political dispute between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis. Specifically, PCUSA breached its tax-exempt status as a religious organization by violating of the United States tax code through its unlawful political lobbying and contact with Hezbollah, a US-designated terrorist organization.

PCUSA’s status with the IRS is based upon its 1964 representation to the government that it functions as a religious body, engaging in peaceful relationships with individuals of all faiths and wholly un-engaged in political activities. PCUSA’s actions clearly indicate that they are in fact highly engaged in political activities, and it thus follows that their tax-free status should be revoked.

 

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