Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Just outrageous - IRS classifies Samaritan's Purse a church

Samaritan's Purse
Franklin Graham was quite honest. His plea to the IRS was that it was just too inconvenient to file annual reports for Samaritan's Purse as a charity. The Service bowed to his demand at some point and re-classified the operation as a church.

Samaritan's Purse did file an annual return for 2015. it shows revenue of $586 million and net assets of $387 million. It has a payroll of $75 million including $572 thousand for Graham (who takes another $250 thousand from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association). Graham also gets, at the organization's expense, a non-taxable housing allowance, first class and charter travel for he and his wife and personal services such as a maid, chauffeur or chef. Nontaxable benefits amounted to an additional $208,332.

Samaritan's Purse spent nearly $300 million in grants for foreign projects. Some of this went to foreign governments to administer programs. The organization has a financial account of some sort in Bolivia.

It might very well be a worthwhile charity but it is not a church. Whatever transparency existed is now gone. Keep in mind that taxpayers heavily subsidized this organization. In addition to taking the hit on tax-deducted contributions, the organization is exempt from sales and other taxes. It should not have been re-designated for Graham's convenience. Far larger organizations file annual reports. Indeed, 616 reporting charities have revenues greater than Samaritan's Purse.

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