The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has evidently ruled in favor of the housing allowance that we in ministry have come to depend on. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal has this article. I also understand that Guidestone is going to put out some info on this pretty soon.
However, all is not good news here. The appeals court did not rule in favor of the housing allowance, but simply ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the suit. Since none of them had been denied the housing allowance, they could not show harm.
The 7th Circuit, however, found that the plantiffs lacked the kind of concrete harm needed to show standing to challenge the IRS rule.
The plaintiffs were never denied the parsonage exemption because they never asked for it, ” the court said.
“Without a request, there can be no denial. And absent any personal denial of a benefit, the plaintiff s’ claim amounts to nothing more than a generalized grievance about §107(2)’s unconstitutionality, which does not support standing.”
So, this is good news for us, but it is hardly the end of the story. I’m guessing one of these folks will file for a housing allowance, get denied and then sue. That’s when things will get interesting. But, for now, we get to keep our housing allowance.
I’m not a prophet, but I’m guessing it is going to be iffy whether I get to keep my housing allowance for the rest of my ministry. You young whippersnappers? Don’t count on having it when you are my age.