Are we obligated (or should we) pay a tithe from our tax refund?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by SolaScriptura, Feb 22, 2005.

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  1. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    It seems to me that if one tithes based on one's gross income, then one does not need to pay a tithe of one's tax refund. The reason being that this is money on which you've already tithed, and the government was - in effect - just holding this portion of your income.
    However, if one tithes based upon one's net income then it seems obvious that a tax refund should be subject to tithing since it is money that has not previously been received by you.

    Additionally, some people, like myself, get a tax refund that is larger than the taxes I paid based upon IRA deductions, tuition payments, etc... in those cases I think the difference between what you have already paid a tithe on and the portion that was not previously tithed would, for the person paying tithe on the basis of gross income, need to be subject to a tithe.
    Of course, the Lord loves a cheerful giver and I think that those who can reasonably afford it should give their refund to the work of ministry as an offering. (You know, those people for whom their refund isn't a part of their planned budget and they end up just "blowing it" on themselves.)

    Do these seem like reasonable guidelines?

    [Edited on 2-22-2005 by SolaScriptura]
  2. Joseph Ringling

    Joseph Ringling Puritan Board Freshman

    :up: Sounds good to me. That's the way I've always looked at it.
  3. Reed

    Reed Puritan Board Freshman

    I don'tknow... that sounds a bit too cute. I'm not a tax expert, but if you report your annual church giving on your tax return doesn't that technically reduce your income tax? So would it be double dipping to claim a deduction on your taxes but then not tithe part of your return? Since everything we get comes from God, we should tithe a portion of everything we get. Did you pay a tithe on the $800 we got back from the Federal government 4 years ago?

  4. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    If you use the net method and reduce your taxes by claiming a deduction (any deduction), then you have more income on which to tithe, not less.

    Since the tithe relates just to the increase "year by year" (Deut. 14:22), I only tithe on how much more I make from one year to the next. :lol:
  5. alwaysreforming

    alwaysreforming Puritan Board Sophomore

    That seemed like a very good way of putting it. We tithe based on the increase the Lord has given us. And we tithe out of a generous and thankful spirit to contribute to the Lord's work in saving the souls of the lost and helping those in need.

    I get a little leary when people start applying "rules" and "principles", but what you have said above seems very reasonable.

    (Now if I could just practice what I preach...)
  6. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    "Blessed be the Lord, King of the universe, who bringeth forth bread from the earth."

    God provides me with everything. It's mine, but it belongs to me as a steward.

    When I get $20 for my birthday, God recieves a tithe. When I get an income tax check back, God would get a tithe. When I get a bonus at work, God gets a tithe. Then, if I am able, I would desire to give more than that as an offering. To be shrewd stewards of His gifts to us would include that each time we see a blessing, we shoudl think about what it could be used for int he Kingdom, which begins with worship.

    I think trying to find the loophole in various things when it comes to whether or not I should, ought to be repalced with:

    2 Corinthians 9:11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

    2 Corinthians 8:2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.

    Romans 12:8 he who gives, with liberality;
  7. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I have an account where my income goes, from the construction, bee products like honey, refunds, whatever. Then I have other accounts. Some, I use to buy supplies, and that money is supplied from the main account. Then I have a personal account, for food, mortgage, clothes; bascially what I give myself to live on. I give 10% from this account.

    Doing that makes things easier.
  8. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I wasn't trying to find loopholes. Just trying to be wise - and as precise as possible. Of course it is better to err on the side of generosity than on the side of frugality in this matter.
    But I think it is helpful to have some general guidelines in place to bettwe understand what God requires of me so that anything above is voluntary.

    Now, let's say you received a paycheck for $10,000. You tithe 10%, so that leaves you with $9,000. Then (again, just work with me here) you pay all your bills and you go put $5,000 in a cd for a year. Let'ss just pretend that you get a ridiculously high interest rate of 5% for a 12 month cd. So you walk away with approx $5,250. Do you owe a tithe on $5,250 or just on the $250 you actually made? I'd say just on the interest since the other $5000 isn't an "increase". They were just holding it for you.
    I'd argue the same principle with a tax refund (if you pay tithes off your gross). Your refund isn't an increase, per se. It's more analogous to a zero intrest savings account because all your refund represents is that the government was holding your money.

    But I also know that for some folks, talk about getting a tax refund (and what to do with it) is like talking about a fairytale as if it were real.

    [Edited on 2-23-2005 by SolaScriptura]
  9. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    To get super technical, you'd have to take the 250 in interest and subtract the value you lost through inflation. And with the tax refund it would be the same thing.

    But if you were to pay yourself from an account like I suggested, and tithe on that, it would make life and your conscience easier perhaps. In this case, your refund would simply go into the main account and you wouldn't worry about it.
  10. govols

    govols Puritan Board Junior

    My family tries to tithe against all my income. I tithe against my net income from work, my net bonus (which hurts since the gov. takes out about 42%) and my taxes should I receive any back.

    We have a kid's bank for our children that has 3 compartments, one for spending, one for the real bank (savings, etc.) and the last (which should be 1st) is for tithes.

    We tell our children that we should always give a tithe, condition of our hearts not just 10%, because it isn't our money to begin with.
  11. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Hi John! You wrote

    "My family tries to tithe against all my income. I tithe against my net income from work, my net bonus (which hurts since the gov. takes out about 42%) and my taxes should I receive any back"

    Are you not confusing net with gross? Your words would lead me to believe this the case, and if so, this is commendable, what Ben is asking for, I think, are scriptural guidlines.

    Take me. If I make 250,000 per year gross, (which is about the case) and I spend 200,000 dollars on labor and materials, my net is 50,000. If I tithe on my gross, I have to tithe 25,000, or half my net income!

    Sorry if I misread!

  12. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    What I do
    I don't worry about gross income, etc. I just concentrate on "what have I just gotten," and tithe on that.

    Paycheck--what got direct-deposited (I have no deductions other than "official" confiscations).

    Honoraria--same, unless the check includes coverage for my expenses (gas, motel, etc) which I deduct from the total.

    "Refunds" from the govenment are "new income" in these my calculations. The first part of what I see is God's. If the government steps in front of me and demands money (ostensibly meant for me) from my employer, it gets what it wants. God will still get from me my tithe. And more if I can give it. I ignore the parasites as far as in me lies.

    Gifts--tithe the whole amount. Its all "increase" to me. :2cents:
  13. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    And this is acceptable... you're tithing on your net income.
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