Mr. Cope monitors the development of U.S. tax law daily through postings on government websites, daily tax publications, monthly tax journals, tax newsletters, tax conferences and meetings of professionals organizations in New York and Washington. Each month he publishes the Tax Insights Blog, which describes and analyzes significant U.S. tax developments (e.g., judicial decisions, regulations, proposed tax legislation) having cross-border tax consequences. The blog's content should be of interest to U.S. businesses with foreign operations and businesses headquarted outside the United States with U.S. investments or U.S. operations.
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Atheists and Agnostics Lack Standing to Challenge the Parsonage Allowance
The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on November 13, 2014 that the Freedom from Religion Foundation (the “Foundation”) and its two co-presidents lack standing to challenge the constitutionality of the “parsonage allowance” of section 107,which provides a tax benefit to “ministers of the gospel” by excluding certain housing-related compensation from gross income. The case is significant because it illustrates the hurdles that taxpayers must be overcome in order to challenge the constitutionality of a federal tax statute. The decision also shows the plaintiffs a way to overcome the standing issue, so a court very likely will eventually have to address the constitutionality of the allowance.