IRS & Salary at Bethel

by Phil 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • slenderdog

    Bethelites and, if I recall correctly, special pioneers (who receive a stipend) are members of "The Order of Full Time Servants." This was told me by a special pioneer some years ago and was in one of the yearbooks in the mid 90s.

  • DIM

    it seems pretty clear to me that no laws are being broken and even if its a vague understanding or stretching the meaning of the law, it still falls within the definition....not something you'd neccesarily want from GOD or GODS ORGANIZATION but legal.

  • ozziepost

    May I correct what seems to be a misunderstanding here? Workers at Bethel do not receive a salary, and so the tax laws do not apply. Bethel workers receive a small living allowance, not a wage or a salary. They're termed as "volunteers" in their Bethel service and the allowance is an assistance to meet incidental living costs whilst at Bethel, in addition to their board and lodging.

  • mustang

    By all means, Ozzie!!! Thanks for the clarification and drawing attention to this thought.

    Is that a statement from one of the "Bethel handbooks", by chance? Does it reflect the "standard verbiage" ("weasel-wording") used officially?

    Please note that INCOME by salary, gifts, trust, royalties, dividends, allowances or whatever must be considered in the United States. Regardless of source, any monies received may be considered taxable.

    Indirect Compensation is also sometimes brought into play. You have to be careful that something such as a HOUSING ALLOWANCE (or provision of Housing by an Employer) is not deemed taxable by virtue of being considered a gift. Special laws exist to allow or tax these matters. It is sometimes in the interest of society as a whole to provide relief from the tax burden.


  • mustang

    A note on the evolution of the NON-PROFIT STATUS situation:

    As long as we on misunderstandings, Tax Laws (as onerous and as crudely as they have evolved) have two purposes in the United States:

    1) to generate revenue

    2) to further and enhance business

    Everybody is going to gasp at #2, but yes it is so. If taxes were merely applied in a straightforward and strict manner, businesses would have a most difficult time.

    So, a system of exemptions and such ("loopholes") has evolved. These exemptions allow business a certain favored status. Thus the business flourishes. This actually generates MORE revenue (INDIRECTLY) than an ONEROUS and DIRECT tax approach. It is up to the business community to whine and petition for the special favors.

    Now, ANY business may balance the books carefully, such that the NET INCOME comes out to ZERO. The result is that no TAXABLE INCOME is generated from REVENUES.

    But, a ZERO REVENUE situation is not the preferred status of most business. A profit margin is desired for furtherance of the business as it stands and expansion in the future.

    So, NON-PROFIT situations are not usual. But they do occur, mostly in the case of Charities. This frequently includes Religious Organizations.

    Again, ANY business can achieve this (Non-Profit Status) WITHOUT SPECIAL CONSIDERATION, by prudent accounting management. But the Charities do this on purpose and receive an easing of their accounting problems by being granted a TAX EXEMPTION.

    Note that to MAINTAIN this TAX EXEMPTION, they have to carefully keep the balance of REVENUES/INCOME to EXPENSES at a NON-PROFIT or zero balance.

    This results in such organizations having a constant program of expenditures. Expenditures may be in the form of business expansion EXPENSES, standard OPERATING COSTS (Overhead and "cost of doing business" are normally allowed deductions) or even GRANTS (outright gifts of monies for any purpose, whatsoever).


  • mustang

    Over the years, the WTS has faced two major business problems, excluding the matters of the "product":

    1) Reducing the TAX BURDEN.

    2) Accounting for an army of EMPLOYEES who did not fit well in the Tax Scheme.

    #1 was accommodated by generating the NON-PROFIT STATUS. This Exemption is allowed on an exceptional basis by the US government. Historically, I don't know when this came into play or was effected. Remember, that WTS came into being in the late 1800’s, before the existence of some of our present Tax Laws and schemes. So, this had to be an evolutionary matter, just as the Tax Laws themselves evolved.

    #2 was handled to a fine-tuned state only in the more recent times of the last several decades. Balancing the need for this volunteer labor with the means to account for it was doubtless a constant headache and battle for Brooklyn. It is ironic that they finally had to adapt the methods developed by the Catholic church!!!

    Overall, Brooklyn has developed a finely-tuned business scheme. They have required initially an army of Accountants. Now, moreso, they are developing an Army of Lawyers.


    Actually, the army of Lawyers was out there from the early to middle days. Remember that Rutherford started out as a lawyer. And many court cases were fought to further the preaching work.

    Overall, this situation is more what one would expect from a business, than a religion.


  • Pork Chop
    Pork Chop

    What about COs? I bet those guys don't report all their income. Some of them take in some pretty decent money in a year.

  • mustang

    Good ?, PC.

    I understand that CO's & DO's do the VOP thing, too. Now CO's are a real opportunity for some abuse of the donation situation!!!

    (Maybe the DO shakes them down to make up for it )


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