Probably the number one question this time of year, is do I tithe on my taxes? What they mean is, am I suppose to tithe on the money I get back on my tax return? That’s a good question. So, here’s a question back. If you owe taxes this year, does the Church refund you tithe back? Probably not. The gift that you gave this past year is long gone, and rightfully so. I wouldn’t expect the Church to give you any money back.
BUT . . . why are we so concerned with asking questions about these minute details on giving? Who really has the answer to tithing on taxes? The Bible doesn’t have the answers on how you should exactly give within our complicated economic structure. The Bible was clear to Israel on how they should give their tithe, but the bible is not clear on how much the Church should give. It was simple for Israel – give a tenth of all your increase in crops and cattle(Leviticus 27:30). At harvest, they counted their crop and cattle and set aside the tenth one(Leviticus 27:32). They didn’t have pensions, 401k’s, and interest on grain or cattle.
Probably the number one thing that made it easy for Israel to calculate the tithe was the fact that they couldn’t give money, gold, or goods; they could only tithe on the cattle and agricultural increase. Tithing on taxes today has become complicated at best. I’ve found that when people ask the “experts” on how they should tithe, most of the time the answer they give is a guess. The answers are never solid, and are never based on direct scripture. Most of the “experts” provide answers to these complicated tithing questions based on their opinion or interpretation of principles that they can find in the bible. Some of the answers are not even based on principles. Some of the “experts” give answers on how you should tithe, based on how they think the Old Testament tithing system fits into our economic and New Testament structure now.
If you read in Matthew 23, you see that the Pharisees were perfect tithers. They knew every tithe question and scenario down to the smallest detail. Although there was nothing wrong with them doing that, and Jesus never said they were wrong in doing that. As a matter of fact, Jesus told his disciples in that passage to obey the Pharisees. Of course, Jesus highlighted with a strong rebuke the actions of the Pharisees that the disciples shouldn’t follow. The difference between the Pharisees narrowing down every scenario of tithing and the New Testament Church narrowing it down is the difference between the law and grace.
Most of these answers you receive on giving the tithing on taxes is an educated guess. The tithe cannot be followed directly through the avenues of the law, so most people just give an opinion on how tithing should be obeyed under grace. The sad thing is the “experts” do not inform you that their answers come from opinion. They give you these guesstimates as if the answers they have come from a direct phone line to God’s tax accountant.
So, tithing on taxes? I’d say pray, ask for advice, and consult the Spirit of God to direct you. Because the “experts” can’t give you direct biblical commands, more than likely the answer you get from your tithing on taxes questions will come from the Spirit of God anyways. The law cannot give answers the one who is governed by grace.