Tax Cheats, Tax Planning, and Taxmen in the Bible: Timeless Advice for Tax Day in USA Today

KNOXVILLE, TN (04-10-14) – “Feeling anxious about your tax liability and government’s ever-increasing share of your income?  The Bible has many references to taxes that will sound strangely relevant at this time of year … beginning with the story of David and Goliath,” observed Crown CEO Chuck Bentley in an op-ed piece titled “Even Jesus Had a Tax Man” at USA Today in advance of the April 15th IRS deadline for federal taxes.

“Many remember a teenage boy offended by insults thrown by a giant foe against his nation and God himself, who volunteers to go into battle with a slingshot. But did you know that a tax incentive was part of his prize? Visiting the battlefield, David learns: “The king will give great wealth to the man who kills (Goliath) … and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” That’s a prize many in the military would enjoy.

Throughout the scripture, tax discussions mark many passages, as ancient men and women also worried about how they would pay. Bentley observed that while Jesus himself noted that while sometimes the authority to tax can be abused, paying taxes is part of life.

For people of faith, a healthy respect for reasonable taxes is part of faith-based culture. Writing in Romans 13, the Apostle Paul urged respect for government, because of the vital role leaders play in society, an admonition that goes beyond mere money.

“Such a standard requires civil interaction and mutual respect, important reminders for today’s toxic political culture,” noted Bentley. “And every IRS agent can take comfort in the fact that Jesus himself had a taxman (Matthew) as a disciple.”

Still, the growth in tax rates is cause for concern. While a 10% tithe to the church has been the standard for personal giving, today’s current tax bite can be about 50%, when taking into account Federal, social security, state, local property, corporate, excise, and other state and local taxes. Remember, Pharaoh only took 20% of the grain in Egypt as a form of taxation during their good years.

“It’s worth debating whether the state should take such a large bite out of families’ resources,” observed Bentley.

And for those fortunate enough to get a tax refund, Bentley says put the money to good use following these 7 tips making the most of your opportunity:

  1. Be charitable: Remember those in need. Yes, you’re getting ready with a tax deduction for next year, but people today could use your help.
  2. Give yourself some credit. Pay down debt and raise your credit rating!
  3. Build an emergency savings fund. Get ready for your next car emergency, health scare or home repair by preparing now.
  4. Go 50-50. If you can’t bring yourself to save it all, put half away and feel less guilty enjoying the rest.
  5. Consider the kids. If you haven’t started a fund for their college education, today is a good day
  6. Think Retirement. The average return of $3,183 is more than half the maximum yearly contribution of a Roth IRA ($6,000 if age 50 and over.)
  7. Treat yourself: Do something fun … with a clear conscience because you know that whatever good choice you made for your future, you made a good plan for your entertainment today.

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Crown, a non-profit, empowers people with biblical financial understanding that changes lives, businesses and the world. Theirs is a strong, international grassroots organization with offices in the U.S. and overseas. It is well known for its cutting edge materials first developed by its founder, the late Larry Burkett.  For more information, go to www.crown.org or call 800-722-1976800-722-1976. For interviews, e-mail: media@crown.org.

About Chuck Bentley

CEO, Crown Mininstries
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2 Responses to Tax Cheats, Tax Planning, and Taxmen in the Bible: Timeless Advice for Tax Day in USA Today

  1. Cheryl says:

    I agree that taxes are high. One big reason is that the government is doing what the Church used to do, take care of the poor. And they aren’t doing a very good job of weeding out those who truly need help and those who are just using the system. Most importantly it is not being done in the name of Christ that would let the poor know that someone does love them and they are very much valued, the first step to hope.

  2. John R says:

    Chuck,
    Thank you for the post and for the article in USA Today. That is a collection of Biblical references on taxes that I had not seen collected together before.
    I did want to point out correction to your list of tips. You stated in Item 6: “Think Retirement. The average return of $3,183 is more than half the maximum yearly contribution of a Roth IRA ($6,000 if age 50 and over.)” The maximum yearly contribution to an IRA is $6,500 if age 50 and over ($1,000 more than the $5,5000 limit if under age 50). The contribution limits increased in 2013.
    Thank you for your teaching. God Bless!

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