Friday, March 14, 2014

Valparaiso Minister Loses Tax Exemption On His Million-Dollar Preachit Mansion

Religious tax exemption revoked on $1.1 million home site
Rev. James Smith claims his Preachit organization, which scripts sermons for pretend Christian ministers to deliver at church services, is a legitimate religious organization. The Porter County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board disagreed and revoked the tax exemption he claims on this $1.1 million, 8,746 square foot home that sits on a 36-acre estate where he resides according to the Northwest Indiana Times. "They're not using this real estate to minister to the general public," said Christopher Buckley, attorney for the Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals. Learn more about this so-called religious organization by visiting their website here and see if you don't reach the same conclusion it took me to reach after a few minutes that it's actually a business.


Anonymous said..., is actually a website that posts sermons from various ministers around the country, perhaps the world, for other ministers. They do not create sermons as you stated. The site itself is religious in nature, but the estate should probably not qualify for tax exempt status as defined by the statute.

Anonymous said...

They sell the sermons to the other ministers they do not give them away free so anyway you look at it PROFIT

Anonymous said...

Read the Tax Exempt laws of the State of Indiana. The laws trump any board of any city or county in the state. Political agendas or UPC Christians who judge someone without getting the truth then ask God to help them in a situation for prayer and this writer who is trying to drive traffic to his website through causey headlines should not sway public opinions where in they allowed for him to be tax exempt then a new board who is anti Christian lays down a decision where it is not legal to make such a decision on state laws where preach-it and jim Smith abide by the state tax exempt laws. It a matter of the Tax commissioners election is coming up soon so it looks like he's doing something and the county looking for more revenue and the self righteous church goers that call themselves UPC. Hi Billy R. Tracey C. and etc !

Anonymous said...

What kind of attorney wrote this so called article. This blog post is nothing more than his opinion of an article that an Anti-Christian writer wrote from the NWI Times which is one of the most sensationalist newspapers in the state of Indiana. Their articles read more like the National Enquire than they do "real news."

Really has this attorney even read the Indiana Tax Code regarding the use of Parsonages of Religious Organizations in the state? Read it for yourself. Like it or not, Indiana tax code gives exemptions to churches AND religious organizations who meet certain criteria.
IC 6-1.1-10-21
Churches or religious societies
Sec. 21. (a) The following tangible property is exempt from property taxation if it is owned by, or held in trust for the use of, a church or religious society:
(1) A building that is used for religious worship.
(2) The pews and furniture contained within a building that is used for religious worship.
(3) The tract of land upon which a building that is used for

religious worship is situated.
(b) The following tangible property is exempt from property taxation if it is owned by, or held in trust for the use of, a church or religious society:
(1) A building that is used as a parsonage.
(2) The tract of land, not exceeding fifteen (15) acres, upon which a building that is used as a parsonage is situated.

(c) To obtain an exemption for parsonages, a church or religious society must provide the county assessor with an affidavit at the time the church or religious society applies for the exemptions. The affidavit must state that:
(1) all parsonages are being used to house one (1) of the church's or religious society's rabbis, priests, preachers, ministers, or pastors; and
(2) none of the parsonages are being used to make a profit.
The affidavit shall be signed under oath by the church's or religious society's head rabbi, priest, preacher, minister, or pastor.
(d) Property referred to in this section shall be assessed to the extent required under IC 6-1.1-11-9.
(Formerly: Acts 1975, P.L.47, SEC.1.) As amended by Acts 1981, P.L.68, SEC.1; P.L.74-1987, SEC.5; P.L.198-2001, SEC.30; P.L.264-2003, SEC.2.

Every person and business in this country is allowed certain tax exemptions. Just because a ministry who donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable works and who feeds, houses and educates homeless children in the poorest parts of the world, asks for the exemption allowed by law, they must be doing something wrong?

Maybe they are just trying to be good stewards of what God has placed within their hands. Maybe they would rather give that money to truly charitable works than to the Porter County Assessor to make him look good so he can get re-elected this term.

Has Porter County become so disenfranchised that rather than cut it's spending to save the county money, it is taking away the exempt statuses of the Non Profits? Pay attention people! This is all about an assessor wanting to make a name for himself.

Maybe someone should do a search on the Porter County tax site to see all the properties the assessors own church has tax exempt status on. Since when does the Indiana tax code allow exempt status on vacant properties held in subdivisions to build houses on? How is that related to the church? How come we are not reading about Fairhaven in the Newspaper?

Opps, maybe because that is where the Porter County Tax Assessor has gone to church for many years. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

While may do charitable things with some of the profits made from the website, I understand the main issue to be that the residence and land is NOT actually primarily used for a church or religious organization. It is a private residence and the majority of the property is used for personal use (and at least one other for profit company that sells doors for chicken coops). If this was a church, then this Pastor wouldn't need ANOTHER church building - which Preachit did purchase. If everyone who donates money to charitable causes or occasionally uses their homes for church fellowship or Bible Studies, then almost all Christians would qualify for a tax exempt status. It very much seems to me that those who defend this exemption seem to be focusing on the excuses given and not the actual facts. Regardless of what "good things" people do, we all need to pay property taxes for our personal residences. The defense that this is all within the laws conveniently forgets that the exemption was filed for BEFORE the residence was constructed. If it had been done correctly and honestly, it likely wouldn't have been granted. There is a huge disconnect between the facts (the house is primarily for personal use with a small portion housing equipment and materials for a website - therefore property taxes should be paid) and the argument that this man is being personally attacked because of an upcoming election. And if this is all because of an election, the assessor has my vote for doing his job correctly and finding people that take advantage of the system.

Anonymous said...

This part of the tax code was NOT highlighted by the previous commenter:
(2) none of the parsonages are being used to make a profit.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they would rather give that money to truly charitable works than to the Porter County Assessor to make him look good so he can get re-elected this term.
And maybe I would like to keep the money I work really hard for to pay down debts, or give to works I believe to be truly charitable, or do whatever I want with it because I worked for it. But I know that if I have a job, I will pay income taxes and if I own a home, I will pay property taxes. Taxes that contribute to roads, schools, etc. The Smiths can pay their fair share of taxes on their beautiful, large mansion that is their private residence, and use the remaining portion of their money however they see fit.