November 13, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ansel Oliver/ANN
A U.S. federal court confirmed today that clergy can continue to claim the tax benefit for housing allowance, upholding a Seventh-day Adventist Church-backed appeal against a lower court ruling that would have ended the so-called parsonage allowance. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Chicago, handed down its decision saying the plaintiffs—the Freedom From Religion Foundation—lacked standing to challenge the exemption, meaning that the group had not suffered damage personally. The Seventh-day Adventist Church had joined an amicus brief—or “friend of the court” brief—for the case in April along with more than 30 other denominations and religious organizations.
The ruling stops what could have been hundreds of millions of dollars of tax increases on clergy and other individuals with tax-exempt status for housing.