Religion | A tax break for clergy housing faces a legal challenge
by Edward E. Plowman
Posted 6/01/02, 12:00 am
Many clergy receive a special tax break unavailable to journalists, engineers, doctors, and other professionals. It's called the "parsonage [or manse] allowance." That tax break is likely to face a new court challenge, even though Congress and the president moved speedily in April and May to give it federal protection.
The issue is rooted in tax-code provisions adopted in 1921 and expanded in 1954. Under the code, the Internal Revenue Service allows clergy to exempt from reportable income the portion of their salary used to rent or provide a home.