News & Articles


Update: Clergy Housing Allowance Upheld by Court

Authored by: Jerry Rich
Date: March 17, 2019

On March 15, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court issued its decision in the current case challenging the provision of housing allowance for ministers. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the housing allowance is constitutional, overruling the Wisconsin U.S. District Court.

Putting aside the argument that the housing allowance exclusion amounts to sponsorship of religion, the Court found that the provision in Section 107(2) instead is designed to prevent excessive entanglement with religion.

It would not be surprising if an appeal is filed for Supreme Court review, or if other actions are taken in other district or appellate courts. But the Seventh Circuit's ruling serves as a solid foundation for the continuation of the provision.

The Seventh Circuit found the housing allowance to be one of many instances where religious resources are properly exempted from taxation.