Is it wrong to deduct tithes while filing taxes? If you get your money back, does that neutralize the spirit of a tithe?
Elle, Jesus Christ answered this question long ago: “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s”
I know that isn’t really very helpful, so let me explain:
Tithing with the spirit of offering back to God that which comes from God in a spirit of devotion and non-attachment is an important part of what makes tithing a true “sadhana” or spiritual practice, just like meditation or service.
The fact that one can deduct such gifts on a tax return has little to nothing to do with the spirit of tithing and thus it is perfectly fine to deduct these gifts. In fact, in a small and somewhat ironic way, the savings you earn from the deduction is already a tangible symbol of the grace of giving the “first fruits of one’s labors” to God!
While one shouldn’t be thinking so much about these savings or thinking about the promise that tithing will return to one possible greater financial benefits, that doesn’t mean that the amounts don’t appear on Schedule A of your tax return.
The mere fact of deducting tithes doesn’t require that you tithe with the consciousness of what you get back. It is merely a fact, keeping Caesar separate from God.
Blessings to you,
Nayaswami Hriman, CPA!
Seattle WA USA