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U.S. Supreme Court Declines Review of Clergy Housing Case for Excluding Multiple Homes

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to take up an appeal by a minister who claimed an income tax exclusion for two homes. A shockwave of surprise arose when the U.S. Tax Court originally ruled in late 2010, on a technicality, that federal tax law does not limit the number of homes for which a minister can receive special tax-free benefits. The federal government appealed the Tax Court decision, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Tax Court in 2012, ruling that the clergy housing exclusion is limited to a single home. The minister, Philip Driscoll, then filed a petition to have the case considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. The denial issued by the Supreme Court leaves the issue where the IRS and the vast majority of clergy have understood it to be for decades – that the clergy housing exclusion is limited to a single home.

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