This is interesting.
The potential ramifications are huge, for a ruling in favor of the couple could affect the millions of Americans who send their children to religious schools of all types. At stake is whether people of all religions can deduct the cost of religious education as a charitable gift, as Scientologists are allowed to do under an officially secret 1993 agreement with the Internal Revenue Service.Tom Cruise won't be happy about that.
''If the I.R.S. does in fact give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology -- allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and disallowed to everybody else -- then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy,'' Judge Silverman wrote. NY Times
The appellants in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case, Michael and Marla Sklar, are Orthodox Jews. They took deductions for some of the private religious school tuition they paid for their children, and for after-school classes in Jewish law. Although the IRS eventually disallowed these deductions by the Sklars, starting in 1994, the agency meanwhile reportedly has allowed members of the Church of Scientology, under a 1993 settlement agreement, to take substantial deductions for "religious training and services." ABA JournalAND
At one point, the IRS lawyer actually warned the court that the tax collector would have difficulty resolving tax disputes if the IRS were forced to disclose its secret agreement with the Scientologists. "Every person who can find out about it from any other religious group is going to come in and want the same thing and that would really tie the IRS's hands," she said. NY Sun
That's exactly correct. Accountability and equity may be inconvenient to the IRS but both are essential to the larger job of meeting the greater needs of the public.
Yes, I know this is San Francisco's 9th Circus, but even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally.
Hat Tip: Instapundit