Shire Free Church & Other Freedom Churches Appeal Tax Exemption Denials

CoexistMinisters of three New Hampshire churches have filed tax exemption appeals with the Cheshire and Grafton superior courts. Peaceful Assembly Church, Shire Free Church: Monadnock, and Church of the Sword were each denied tax exemptions for their properties. Peaceful Assembly sought an exemption for their church building, while the other two sought exemptions for parsonages.

Brandon Ross, the attorney for Peaceful Assembly Church, was surprised by the town’s decision to deny exemption for their church building in Grafton, pointing out, “Peaceful Assembly Church has been around for several years. Seems plain as day they’re entitled to the tax exemption.” According to the filing by Ross in Grafton superior court, “the Grafton Selectmen argued that Peaceful Assembly did not ‘do enough’ for the community to earn a tax exemption (perhaps incorrectly believing that [tax exemption is] a quid-pro-quo arrangement).”

The filing adds, “the Town’s tax assessing agent, Avitar, basically recommended that the exemption be denied because they weren’t an IRS recognized church.” Of course, there is no requirement that a church apply for IRS recognition within NH statutes, nor should there be. Churches do not need government approval to exist and to be tax-exempt.

The ministers of the Shire Free Church: Monadnock argue in their appeal filed in Cheshire superior court that Keene tax assessor Mary Ann Robator engaged in viewpoint discrimination when she said, “When you refer to activists, I think that flies in the face of your church status.”  Mark Edge, Shire Free Church minister says their church meets all the legal requirements and that, “The Keene government’s denial of our application is nothing but religious discrimination.”

Shire Free Church: Monadnock ministers filed their appeal without the assistance of an attorney. Their six-page filing cites multiple constitutional provisions as well as the New Hampshire statute that authorizes municipalities to accept “voluntary payments.” The church encourages the city to accept its voluntary contributions (approximately 45% of each tax bill at this time) in lieu of property taxes, rather than continuing to pour taxpayer dollars into costly attorneys’ fees in a fight to crush religious freedom.

While the churches are independently organized, Peaceful Assembly Church and Shire Free Church: Monadnock share similar missions of fostering peace. The Peaceful Assembly Church associates with Christianity, but welcomes all who believe in peace and forgiveness.  Shire Free Church is an interfaith peace ministry, open to all who are of peace and who have signed the Shire Society Declaration.

Church of the Sword, whose mission is different from the other churches, filed their appeal via attorney Daniel Hynes in Cheshire superior court regarding the town’s denial of their parsonage in Westmoreland. The church self-describes as interfaith and their website states, “We believe in studying and applying the martial path in the judicial and legislative arenas, as well as in self defense.”  Church of the Sword minister Kevin Bloom says they weren’t even sent proper notice of denial, “To this date, we have not received a letter of denial that the Town of Westmoreland claims was mailed on August 26th. The only reason we learned about it at all is due to our attorney’s diligence.”

Stay tuned to FreeKeene.com for the latest on these attacks on religious freedom.

More information about each church can be found on their respective websites:

http://www.peacefulassemblychurch.org/

http://church.shiresociety.com/

http://www.churchofthesword.org/

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9 Comments

  1. The courts see right through this “church” tax scam thing. Good luck storming the castle, freetards.

  2. Only problem with your theory is that it’s not a scam. Can’t speak for any of the Cheshire County folks, but the Peaceful Assembly Church is definitely a church, and does all of the normal church-type things. Hence why, as the suit notes, the Town’s own attorney told them that they are required to grant the tax exemption. The Town is being sued on mutliple different issues right now, has narrowly avoided suits on a few others, and may be sued on several more.

  3. I don’t know what is more extreme: the hypocrisy of the underlying premise that taxes are bad for churches but okay for other organizations, or the amusement of watching the little slavelets beg their overloads for permission to marginally reduce their slaveitude. I wonder if the paperwork submitted to the court uses the wording “…the Church prays for relief.” That would be more than a little ironic.

  4. Apparently Bane has some experience with the courts’ ability to identify scammers, and I doubt it’s as a lawyer.

  5. It doesn’t. Which is easy to determine, since the filings are provided in the article. Brandon’s filing on behalf of the PAC, for example…
    “WHEREFORE, Peaceful Assembly Church requests the following relief:”

  6. Well Bane did tell me after sex one night that he dated a guy in college that was in pre law so I think he knows what he talking about.

  7. For about $30 at themonastary.org, you can get the same ridiculous credentials as this most honorable Ian fraud purchased. Such a dishonest, pitiful approach to avoid taxes. Would love to know what this Ian does when he someday actually needs a government service… probably be the first one in line demanding service. This website and these characters are amazing. I suggest if it is so bad ehre, that they all move together to Syria.

  8. When a church applies for 501(c)(3) status (“IRS recognition”) it is regarded thenceforth as a state (government) created corporation – whether it is formally incorporated or not. It has a legal existence apart from the membership of what people think of and call in common speech “a church.” If originally formed as a church, a religious society, it is not so recognized any longer. It “trades in” its rights recognized by the United States Congress in 508(c)(1)(A) for a privilege granted by 501(c)(3).
    I and many others believe that state (government) registered/recognized artificial entities commonly called “Churches” are established “Churches” forbidden by the U. S. Constitution and the state constitutions. The use of the term “Church” in the corporate name does not make a “Church, Inc.” a church.

  9. Bob Trent… You said “When a church applies for 501(c)(3) status (“IRS recognition”) it is regarded thenceforth as a state (government) created corporation – whether it is formally incorporated or not.” I have heard this before but can find no legal reference. I cant find it in any of these places

    26 US Code 501
    26 US Code 508
    26 US Code 526
    26 US Code 6033
    26 US Code 7611
    26 US Code 170
    26 US Code 511
    26 US Code 511
    26 US Code 7605(c)

    IRS PUB 1828
    IRS PUB 4221
    IRS PUB 517

    EO CPE 1994
    EO CPE 1979

    Is there a Treasury regulation, or case law, or PLR that you can point to. Please give as many citations / references as possible since the more support you have for this the better because, if true, it is strong argument for churches mentioned in this article (as well as mine which is not in NH) to forgo IRS recognition of congressional approval mandated in the IRC. It may also may help the churches mentioned in this story to overcome the localities reliance of IRS recognition as a way to determine if a church is “really” a church.

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