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March 2018



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"Lie To Me: Truth or Consequences"

The second episode of this season had a B plot about a cult. The Lightman Group was hired by the IRS to see if the cult members actually believe in their religion.

The writers of the show are correct that the IRS is the only government agency that cares about religion, but they are wrong that lying about faith makes one a tax evader. In order for a building to be a church it needs to be used as a church. The same as if you claim your study as an office. You don't have to believe you are in business you just have to act as if you were (actually engage in business). For a building to be a church I think it's primary purpose has to be regular religious worship, for whatever the religion defines as that as. This cult's actual worship practices were fairly straightforward. If they were trying to claim a sex club with strippers and a bar as a church, that would be more problematic.

I don't think you can really claim a residence as a "church" but I'm not a tax expert. I think the houses would actually be housing for a non-profit organization who's members own no property, like monasteries and convents. And I don't think there would be any benefit to having a different church corporation for each house. One incorporated church should be enough to cover all the buildings on the compound or even multiple compounds. Since I have always wanted to have one of those "church compounds" myself I would consult a qualified tax advisor about the details.

Oh! I spotted James Marsters as the prosecuting attorney! He looks so different with dark hair.