Republican Tax Law Hits Churches

By Brian Faler

Republicans have quietly imposed a new tax on churches, synagogues and other nonprofits, a little-noticed and surprising change that could cost some groups tens of thousands of dollars.

Their recent tax-code rewrite requires churches, hospitals, colleges, orchestras and other historically tax-exempt organizations to begin paying a 21 percent tax on some types of fringe benefits they provide their employees.

That could force thousands of groups that have long had little contact with the IRS to suddenly begin filing returns and paying taxes for the first time.

Many organizations are stunned to learn of the tax — part of a broader Republican effort to strip the code of tax breaks for employee benefits like parking and meals — and say it will be a significant financial and administrative burden.

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