Thursday, August 21, 2014

Deciding How to Calculate and Pay Tithing Is Up to Each Individual

Do I pay tithing on my income before taxes are taken out or on what I receive after taxes?

The First Presidency has answered this question in this way: “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually,’ which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this” (First Presidency letter, Mar. 19, 1970).

In other words, the way you define your income, and consequently your tithing, is a matter between you and the Lord. Prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance on issues like taxes, gifts, scholarships, and other matters to determine what qualifies as a full tithe. 

New Era, February 2008


Anonymous said...

This is how I explained it to my kids. Suppose we privatized all public services, everything from national defense to parks to highways, etc. Then, the various entities sent you a bill, the same way you get bills for utilities, cell phone, etc. What people call "taxes" are just that -- the sum total of the "bills" charged for living in your local, county and federal United States. Now, we may not like certain charges, we may not agree with how the money is spent. That's something for you to take up with your political leaders. But the concept is the same. You pay before taxes, because those taxes are for services rendered, the same as those other services rendered we typically think about. If I pay you $20 an hour, is your income $20 an hour or some vague figure after you've tried to compute taxes? If you're a salaried employee making $60K a year, isn't your W-2 going to say you make $60K a year? Isn't the first figure you're going to put down on your federal tax return considered your "income?" I don't know why, especially members, struggle with this concept and try to rob God. I have worked closely with many bishops and stake presidents. Every one of them paid on their "income," not income after taxes or other miscellaneous deductions.

Papa D said...

I respect that, Anonymous, but I know lots of members (including leaders) who pay differently than each other. The point of this post is that there is no specific mandate from the Church, and it is left to the members to decide in good conscience.

Chris said...

Unfortunately, Anonymous, it isn't that black and white. Social Security tax is 12.4%, but only 6.2% shows up on your W2. The company is "responsible" for the other half. It doesn't show up on your W2, but it definitely is income...just ask someone who is self-employed. The company portion is withheld from your paycheck also, it just isn't printed on the W2. Why does the salaried employee of a company not have to pay tithing on the hidden 6.2% but a self-employed member must pay tithing on the full 12.4%?

I think this shows the wisdom of God. If we are earnestly seeking to know his will on how much we should be paying, it doesn't matter what any formula says.

Anonymous said...

I pay tithing on my gross income and any interest earned (which is scant these days), gift money etc;. When i receive an income tax return, I get to keep the money because I already tithed on it. When i was receiving child support, I paid tithing on it. My Bishop told me I did not have to pay tithing on it. I did anyway to receive the blessings associated with it. When the blessings come, we know we are paying an honest tithe.