Licensure of Church Day Care Facilities & Sales and Use Tax Paid by Churches
Church Day Care Licensure Issue for VAIB
Before 1979 church run day cares were required by law to be licensed by the State Department of Social Services. In 1979 House Bill 276 was passed exempting churches from that requirement. That became known as the “religious exemption”. Immediately, this was challenged in Federal Court. Churches which had refused to take a license stepped to the front and began paying the bill to defend the “religious exemption” law. It was quickly evident that the case was going to take a long time and a lot of money. In 1985 after the churches had already spent tens of thousands in defending the law, VAIB agreed to assume the debt for the legal fees to fight this battle. After ten years and a total of $260,000 in legal bills, victory was assured when the US Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling that religious day cares could be exempt from State control. PRAISE GOD! At the Annual Meeting on September 21, 1990, “the MORTGAGE WAS BURNED”! God used the efforts of VAIB to pay the bill.
During this ten year battle Dr. Jack Knapp became the first Executive Director and became responsible for raising the funds to pay the legal fees. To find out more about Dr. Knapp click here.
Sales And Use Tax Paid By Churches
Another issue the assembly faced in its early days was taxation of churches. Since churches have traditionally been looked upon by the state as deserving of special treatment, Virginia pastors believed that exemption from the sales and use tax under certain conditions was appropriate. VAIB spearheaded efforts to lobby the legislature and won limited exemption from sales and use tax in 1979 with the passage of House Bill 566. At first the exemption only applied to purchases related to the sanctuary and not to all of the activities of the church ministry. However, after battling consistently for nearly 30 years, full exemption was won in 2007 when House Bill 2724 was passed.