IFAS | Freedom Writer | Summer 2001 | irs.html

IRS seizes church

Indianapolis, Indiana In 1983, when the Internal Revenue Service announced that churches, like any other employer, had to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, Pastor Gregory J. Dixon, of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, refused. He said that the church was subject only to God's law, not to US law. Dixon dissolved the church's corporate status and conducted business as usual.

A number of other churches followed Dixon's lead. For years nothing happened. Meanwhile, Dixon's son, Gregory A. Dixon, took the reins. Then the IRS subpoenaed the church's bank records and assessed the church $3.5 million for withholding taxes from 1987 through 1993.

Dixon refused to pay. Last year a federal judge ruled that the government could take the church's property. The IRS immediately seized the church parsonage. The church appealed to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. Then, this spring, after a standoff with about 750 people (including 50 militia members), 85 federal marshals and 70 city police officers seized the church. The senior Dixon, as he was strapped to a gurney and being wheeled out of the sanctuary, shouted: "I pray for you that God will forgive you! Welcome to communism, America!"

[Editor's note: A 1984 ruling allows churches to opt-out of paying withholding taxes if their employees pay self-employment taxes.]

© 2001 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.