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Judge strikes down law relating to clergy

Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 --- 7:48 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge has struck down a law that gives clergy members tax-free housing allowances.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/18egoV8 ) the decision could have far-reaching financial ramifications for pastors, who currently don't pay income taxes on compensation that is designated part of a housing allowance.

In her Friday decision, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote the exemption: "provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise."

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the lawsuit against U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and acting IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel. A treasury department spokeswoman referred questions to the Department of Justice, which is representing Lew. A DOJ spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email Saturday.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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