Perhaps when missionaries are faced with fence-sitting investigators, they should note the tax advantages of joining the Church.
The Smith family will be paying an underwhelming 0.39% federal tax rate this year on our upper-middle class income. (I didn’t cheat, I swear.) We (and other similarly-situated LDS, I assume) accomplish this feat as follows:
(1) Tithing, fast offerings, and other contribuions are, of course, deductible.
(2) So is the interest paid on our mortgage.
(3) Each child saves us $1000 in taxes.
The link between (2) and Church membership is a little tenuous, I admit. But (1) and (3) aren’t. Some thoughts:
(1) We often talk about the gov. using taxes to encourage or discourage behavior. Let me assure you that our decision to pay tithing and have or not have children did not include an exploration of the tax implications. So are tax incentives a reasonable policy in these cases?
(2) If you have 8 children, you would not pay any taxes on the first 58K of your income (not even considering any other deductions or credits). This leads me to think that there might be entire zip codes in Utah paying very, very low amounts of federal taxes. The result would seem to be that Utah has its tax burdens subsidized by those blue staters with low reproduction rates. How do we feel about this?
(3) I have to admit that my husband and I are feeling a little sleazy for not better supporting our government, which we don’t think is perfect, but is pretty darn good, as far as governments go.
(1) To be fair, we did benefit from the sales tax exemption thingy because we bought two cars this year, but we’ve never paid over 3%.
(2) I was just joking about the missionaries.