The nation’s most famous tax preparation service now features a recent FFRF legal triumph as part of its tutorials.
H&R Block’s class required for its tax professionals in 2018 includes a section on FFRF’s historic federal court victory that declared unconstitutional the clergy housing allowance. (See accompanying story.)
The briefing appears under “Module 4: Hot Topics.”
The plaintiffs in the case are FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, and Ian Gaylor representing the estate of Anne Nicol Gaylor, FFRF president emerita. The co-presidents argued that as leaders of a freethought organization they are similarly situated to clergy. Yet when FFRF designated a housing allowance for the co-presidents and as part of Anne Gaylor’s retirement, the IRS refused to allow them to deduct the allowances.
The trio first sued in 2013, winning at the district level, which created a national outcry by the clergy. When the case was appealed, with virtually every denomination chiming in against the ruling, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw the case out on standing, saying the plaintiffs had failed to request a refund. Taking the cue, they requested refunds, and when they were denied, went back to court.
“We’re flattered our historic challenge of this inequity is a hot topic with tax professionals,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor.
FFRF is delighted to be of educational value — for tax preparers and everyone else.