When it comes to collections, it is no secret that the IRS is often the one debt collector that you want to pay first if at all possible. They charge penalties, high interest rates, are quick to levy assets, and can garnish wages and bank accounts. In fact, it turns out the IRS trumps God when it comes to your money.
In a recent tax court case, it was ruled that an IRS settlement officer did not abuse her authority when she deemed tithing to be a non-necessary expense when determining how much the individual could pay in a partial installment agreement. Tithing, a practice of giving God 10% of one’s income that dates back to Moses, has been considered by many a sacred part of their worship. However, in the eyes of the IRS spiritual welfare can be “reasonably excluded from the definition of health and welfare”.
Additionally, the settlement officer did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 because classifying tithes as conditional expenses, rather than necessary, was in “furtherance of a compelling government interest (the collection of taxes) and was the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest.”