DENVER — God’s Storehouse in Topeka contends the Internal Revenue Service is infringing on its religious rights by ordering some financial information be turned over for an IRS examination of its status as a church.
Congress enacted requirements “to safeguard religious institutions from capricious meddling” by the government so that “the First Amendment rights of churches are not trampled on” in the IRS’ zeal to collect revenue, God’s Storehouse told a judge Thursday.
The contention that the IRS is bypassing constitutional safeguards is in a filing at the U.S. District Court in Denver.
The IRS has ordered a Colorado company that processes the church’s credit card transactions to turn over records to the government.
More:Court filings shed light on IRS investigation into church run by Topeka Sen. Rick Kloos
God’s Storehouse says it has handed over a number of documents
God’s Storehouse goes on to state it already has provided numerous documents — such as dates of its worship services and letters from its bank and insurance carrier — to support that it operates “as a Christian church.”
Its pastor is Rick Kloos, a Kansas state senator from Topeka. His organization also operates a thrift store at 2111 S.W. Chelsea Drive and a coffee house.
God’s Storehouse has a similar case in federal court in Kansas, challenging the IRS’s authority to order companies doing business with Kloss’ organizations to turn over financial and credit card records.
The government has responded that it is within its legal authority.
Court records show an IRS agent stated his examination is to determine whether God’s Storehouse:
• Engaged in a political campaign.
• May operate as a thrift store rather than a church.
• May have business income tax liability related to its coffee shop.
• May be liable for employment taxes based on wages paid to Kloss and his wife, Pennie.
More:Sen. Rick Kloos pushes back as IRS questions tax-exempt status of God’s Storehouse
Rick Kloos used church branding during Senate campaign
Kloos used the church’s branding in his campaign materials during his run for the Senate in 2020.
That raised questions about its potential implications for the tax-exempt status for the church. Federal tax law generally bars churches from engaging in political activities, particularly advocating for or against a given candidate.
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