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Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland Maine Abusing Tax-Exempt Status

Posted on : Sep-25-2009 | By : maggie | In : Blog Post

9

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland Maine is gambling that you won’t bother to express outrage at this tax-exempt religious body dabbling in politics — despite this being something they are explicitly barred from doing. The church is actively soliciting and collecting money from parishioners to help repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law. And that, my friends, is political action. Just because it’s not money raised for a political candidate or PAC doesn’t make it OK. Changing, influencing or creating laws are political actions. And IRS code 501(c)(3) governing tax exempt organizations expressly forbids this:

“In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” (Source: IRS.gov)

What can you do? File a complaint with the IRS.

If you’re a resident of Maine, I urge you to file a complaint with the IRS as your voice will likely be given more credence. But any U.S. tax payer can file a complaint as this is a Federal issue. If the church wants to play in politics and law-making, then they should contribute to the government that maintains those laws by paying taxes like the rest of us. If they want a stake in our process, they need to join the process rather than claim exemption. Standing on the side-lines, paying no dues, but then wanting to have your particular dogma given full measure is unfair to tax payers, not to mention those religious groups who play by the rules. Catholic parishioners can, of course, participate all they wish. But when the diocese organizes as a single entity to dip its finger in our laws, we need to speak up and say no.

The IRS makes the complaint process easy. Just browse to: IRS Complaint Process For Tax Exempt Organizations.

If the church wants access to our government, there’s a price. If not, then their best move would be to return that money to their parishioners or donate it to a wholly un-related charity. This is our government, not the Pope’s.

More reading (including blatant evidence from CNA):
Catholic News Agency
WMTW news story
NECN news story

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Comments (9)

The CNA article isn’t just a smoking gun. The diocese forgot to run away, or even wear a mask.

I live in Maine, and I first read about this a week or so ago in this article:
http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/120219.html

I spend a little time spelunking around the IRS website but for some reason couldn’t find the right place, so thanks for the link! Oh and here’s a direct like to the form to fill out for anyone who is even lazier than I (is that even possible?):
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f13909.pdf

Does anyone know if we should we be complaining to the Maine Revenue Service too or is this a IRS only thing?

@Brad

Re: Maine Revenue Service

That would depend on what Maine’s state tax laws are. My presumption is that they have something similar to Federal regulations, but you should probably check the state tax code. Maybe even just calling the state tax service and asking the question would suffice.

Some additional reading/reporting:

http://bit.ly/s7VXE

http://bit.ly/gpPyW
(sorry, the links were crazy long and messed up formatting)

http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/120219.html (thanks, Brad)

One of the ‘Yes on 1’ which mentioned churches could be stripped of their tax-exempt status has been dismissed by some as being scare-mongering, but I feel quite strongly that they _should_ be scared. If Roman Catholics want to join a PAC and get active, fine. But the church _cannot_ and _should not_ have a hand in it. Period. And clearly the church is driving this one; arm out the window, pedal to the metal driving it.

Could someone find their Employer ID Number? It’s needed to file a complaint.

You will need the following information to file a complaint:

NAME: Catholic Foundaition of Maine (Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland)
Street Address: 510 Ocean Ave Portland, ME 04104
Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 77-061-2679

That last part is crucial. You will need the EIN to file

Thanks, Steven! You’re awesome. :)

Catholics: We Do Not Like Your Families Either.

I uploaded a completed IRS complaint form here, along with supporting documentation (the CNA article):

http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?hidnmuywtn0

Please download, print, fill out the date and your name, and submit

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