Missouri Will Tax Yoga

ST. LOUIS(RNS) On Sunday (Nov. 1), Missouri became the only state to enforce a sales tax on what many see as a spiritual pursuit – the practice of yoga.

The debate between Missouri’s yoga community and the state centers on whether yoga is a spiritual practice or just exercise. If it’s one, it’s constitutionally protected and can’t be taxed. If it’s the other, Missouri’s cash-strapped budget has a new source of revenue.

On Monday, yoga studio owners pledged to fight for their students and educate state legislators about yoga’s spiritual roots.

Last year, a similar First Amendment battle broke out in Washington when that state began including yoga studios in a group of recreational organizations that had to charge customers a sales tax. Yoga practitioners, teachers and studio owners in Seattle and around the state came together to show legislators and the Department of Revenue that yoga was different from other physical activities.

“They told us that yoga is more than just staying physically fit; it’s more of a spiritual and mental type of exercise,” said Mike Gowrylow of the Washington Department of Revenue. “After they educated us, we agreed they had a point.”

The state decided to leave yoga studios alone.

The Missouri yoga community and the state’s Department of Revenue are now at similar cross-purposes. Like many states, Missouri leaders are looking to alternative sources of revenue as budgets tighten. If the state prevails, it will be the only one in the country to levy sales taxes on the spiritual services provided by yoga studios.

If yoga is a spiritual pursuit, and therefore untaxable, it follows that Christians and other monotheists should not practice it.

Missouri is the show-me state. They will need you to show them that it is a religion before they will budge

Correction: Christians and other monotheists in Missouri should not practice it.

If it’s a religion and it shouldn’t be taxed, then it’s a religion, and the lessons should be free of charge.

They can’t have it both ways.

Didn’t a U.S. politician recently tell a foreign nation that “we tax everything that moves and everything that doesn’t”?:wink:

Peace, Graubo

Actually the Supreme Court left it up to states to tax at the state level and I see no reason ANY faith should get off tax free for sanctuaries and other part not directly tax-exempt under a secular matter.

In other words tax churches, temples, mosques and have other parts of a “church” such as schools and say a homeless project tax-exempt under their own merits.

My minstry pays taxes and I have no problem doing that, when my income gets into the range to be taxed. Show me anywhere in the NT where Jesus said a church should not pay taxes to the secular government its under. And show me where any religious ministry is REQUIRED under US law to be tax-exempt to function. I feel its a duty of all churches to honor the need of the government and pay ordinary taxes in full for property and buildings not used for a legitimate tax-exempt social service that gives to the community. They can easily be treated under its own incorporation as tax-exempt apart from the church for example.

Add to that when one doesn’t pay taxes and takes the exemption we lose free speech rights and for me I want to be able to openly speak out for a political candidate if I wish to without risk of the government harassing me. And not have to have government oversight of my operations and books more than what my income is and what the governments share of the business earnings are.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.