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James huntsman (jon's brother) sues church for 'fraud'


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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

So you have an ongoing right to demand explanations from the Church as to how it manages its funds?  Are you sure?

Okay.

An understandable concern.

So you fault the Church for what happened here?  Why?

Oi.  You mean the website that attributes the following quote to LDS Philanthropies?

You'll understand if I'm not quite willing to take these folks' characterization at face value. 

It's available for viewing here (apparently a copyright violation, but oh well...).  I watched it.  It's a video of a married couple explaining their life journey.  They talked about one of their daughters and choices she had made.  The choices are kept pretty vague and are not explained.  They talk about the value of helping/serving others, and about the importance of teaching this to your children.  They talk about how humanitarian work begins at home and does not necessarily require a lot of money.  They talked about service projects they did, and re-enacts some of them.  The dad says that he can give his children money, cars, etc., but he can't given them a desire to be good and virtuous.  He then says that if his children want to inherit part of his estate, they need to be good people.  The dad says his metric of success as a father is if his children are worthy of a temple recommend, and not whether they are wealthy.  The parents then talk about the risks inherent in inheriting or coming into large sums of money quickly, how such a thing can be quite damaging (anyone who has watched what happens to lottery winners will agree with this sentiment).  The parents then talk about what happens when someone "who is not living gospel principles" receives a "pile of money."  The father notes that this seldom involves the person returning to Church and turning their life around.  The father talks about how he was nervous about what would happen if he died and left a lot of money to his children.  He spoke with someone at LDS Philanthropies, who suggested that their family start up a charitable foundation.  The arrangement was that his sons would be involved in the foundation.  They later changed the terms so that they could "grow and develop" and build up "good principles," and "if they were worthy of their priesthood, they can handle the inheritance and continue to do good, and if they exercise their agency contrary to my {the father's} beliefs, then the option is that the entire inheritance can still go to the Church."  The mother then adds that she wants her children to be good and kind to others.  The father then talks more about their charitable foundation.  

So, yeah.  The video is not quite what ZelphOnTheShelp says it is (as in nothing like it).  

I'm struggling to see what's wrong with the video. 

A religious couple can be legitimately concerned about an inheritance of large amounts of money having a corrupting influence on the lives of their children.  The Prodigal Son's "riotous living" comes to mind.

A religious couple can likewise feel justified in wanting the fruits of their lifelong labors to benefit their children and the world, such as by setting up a charitable foundation.

A religious couple (or any couple, for that matter) can arrange their estate planning so as to minimize risks and maximize benefits, both financial and otherwise.  

There are all sorts of people who live large portions of their estate to what they see as worthwhile causes.  Churches.  Charities.  Schools.  

There are all sorts of people who condition inheritances on the heirs' conduct.  A drug addict, for example, might receive only limited monetary distributions.  Or an 18-year old might lost the inheritance unless he graduates from college, or else he might only be able to use the inheritance for tuition, or he might receive distributions in metered amounts over a period of years.  Or the inheritance might be put in a trust fund.  There are a million ways to do this, all legal, all above board, all legitimate.  So to fault Latter-day Saints for doing it is, well, weird.

Then there are the people who also have pretty bizarre bequests in their estate planning.  Meet Lulu, the 8-year-old border collie that just inherited $5 million dollars:

210213001623-02-dog-border-collie-millio

Has Zelph on the Shelf railed against Bill Dorris, the fellow who left his millions to this dog? 

Anyhoo, if LDS Philanthropies created a video that, for some, hit an off-key note, that's unfortunate.  But for the love of pete.  The video came out in 2013, was apparently criticized, and was then taken down.  How many people watched it?  Don't know.  Doesn't matter.  It only has value and relevance because you want to make the Church look bad.

Do you see how bringing this up rather exemplifies the point I have made over and over?  That critics are not really looking to find information, but to find fault?  

I understand your husband's point.  But you are corroborating the point made in the LDS Philanthropies video.  Money, particularly when A) is acquired quickly, B) is inherited rather than earned, and C) is in large quantities, can have a very corrupting and damaging effect on the recipients.

In the end, the disposition of one's estate is generally the sole province of the individual.  

Thanks,

-Smac

You always answer me with lengthy feedback, and I appreciate the time you put forth, I honestly do. My problem is that the church put out that video in the first place, it was probably someone that wasn't in a high tiered level, so understandable. The family in the video is no doubt my relative from Sanpete county where my parents and their parents grew up. The family have my mom's maiden name. 

I'm only critical because the church is putting in the minds of the elderly or middle aged parents that it could be a leverage for them to put on their children. It wasn't a leverage over my husband's family, but somewhere they felt the need to donate to the church. Their Trust is through the church I believe, this:  https://philanthropies.churchofjesuschrist.org/gift-planning/how-to-give/testamentary-giving-tools/revocable-living-trust. My MIL went a little crazy when donating to the church that recently my BIL now handles her finances so that she can afford to live in a retirement community, her bills are very high to live there. She is 93..

BTW, did you see how in Canada the church's finances are more transparent and that 80% went to BYU? Do you know anything about that? Or maybe it's another thorn in a critics' side. 

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5 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Right now the line seems to be at right about $100 billion dollars for that particular purpose.  If that amount grows to much more than that amount, then I think that would indicate our Church leaders wanted to have more than that amount for that purpose.

I'm pretty sure they are at least shown the balances in all Church accounts and that they approve of where the money is being used rather than saved.

According to Financial Standard #6230, apostles are not authorized to see the following details of the Church's balance sheet:

  • Cash
  • Investment Securities
  • Investment Properties
  • Other Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Net Assets

See the following document:

https://archive.org/stream/MormonDocumentsLDSChurchInternalLeaks/25-AccessingAndSecuringFinancialInformation#page/n3/mode/2up

 

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Nope.  Not taxed now, and cannot be taxed:

In McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 327 (1819).  Daniel Webster argued: “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy,”

U.S. Supreme Court in Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, overturned a state license tax as unconstitutional:

 

What are you talking about?

McCulloch v. Maryland was about a state legislature trying to tax the federal bank.

Murdock v. Pennsylvania is vaguely religious but was about a Jehovah’s Witness who solicited donations while preaching door to door and the local government insisting this made him a door-to-door salesman which that city required a license for. It was ruled that he did not need a license.

Neither of these suggest that churches cannot be taxed. If you are getting fed these cases as evidence regarding the taxation of churches by some website or something you should discontinue using it. They are clearly okay with lying to you.

Ironically the opposite situation was the case in the American colonies both before and after the revolution. While churches were not taxed (in a tradition going back to Constantine) tax money was used for religious purposes. It wasn’t until after the Civil War when the Bill of Rights was “democratized” to apply to all levels of government equally that this was (mostly) stamped out.

The Supreme Court has defended religious tax exemptions but I haven’t seen a case won yet that mandates them.

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17 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Rich?  For a global society?  Hmm.  You really think so?  Just curious, how much money do you think we should keep stored away, untouched, to be used only for catastrophic events, while giving everything above that level to others?

About $20 Billion. That should be enough money to give all members a 3-year break from all donations, and be able to keep running as normal. 

17 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Personally, I don't think of myself as rich, financially, or the Church who stores money for all of its members rich, either.  It is a large amount of money, for all of us, which we have on hand to help ourselves and others, but not excessive for a global kingdom.

I'll just note that the Church proudly tells the world that it spends about $1 Billion a year for charity, but won't disclose how much money it has saved. It won't even disclose that to the apostles.

17 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Saving too much and spending too little?  And you are basing that on what standard? 

Yes. See the following:

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+much+money+should+a+charity+keep+in+reserve

 

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3 minutes ago, Analytics said:

According to Financial Standard #6230, apostles are not authorized to see the following details of the Church's balance sheet:

  • Cash
  • Investment Securities
  • Investment Properties
  • Other Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Net Assets

See the following document:

https://archive.org/stream/MormonDocumentsLDSChurchInternalLeaks/25-AccessingAndSecuringFinancialInformation#page/n3/mode/2up

 

It is considered a temporal (not spiritual) concern so the Presiding Bishop of the Church has that responsibility under the direction of the First Presidency.  The Quorum of Twelve Apostles are more concerned with spiritual matters.

Nice attachment, though.  Thank you for that.

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20 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Right now the line seems to be at right about $100 billion dollars for that particular purpose.  If that amount grows to much more than that amount, then I think that would indicate our Church leaders wanted to have more than that amount for that purpose.

I'm pretty sure they are at least shown the balances in all Church accounts and that they approve of where the money is being used rather than saved.

That's funny. So the line is where they say it is at any moment?  Hardly a principled position for the church to take.

It's like the child who says "I'll share when I have enough."

They are then asked, "when will you have enough?"

They reply "when I say so"

 

That's a very inspirational approach for a charitable organization :) 

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16 minutes ago, Analytics said:

According to Financial Standard #6230, apostles are not authorized to see the following details of the Church's balance sheet:

  • Cash
  • Investment Securities
  • Investment Properties
  • Other Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Net Assets

See the following document:

https://archive.org/stream/MormonDocumentsLDSChurchInternalLeaks/25-AccessingAndSecuringFinancialInformation#page/n3/mode/2up

 

Whoa! Seriously?

Just wow!

 

That sounds like a highly inspired process for utilizing church assets.

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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3 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

You always answer me with lengthy feedback, and I appreciate the time you put forth, I honestly do. My problem is that the church put out that video in the first place, it was probably someone that wasn't in a high tiered level, so understandable.

Reasonable minds can disagree about the video.  But even if you're correct about it, I would hope that you could forgive and move on.  It happened in 2013, after all.

3 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I'm only critical because the church is putting in the minds of the elderly or middle aged parents that it could be a leverage for them to put on their children.

I'm not sure that's a fair characterization.  And in any event, what is wrong with sensible estate planning that is possibly/likely congruent with the overall goals and objectives of "the elderly or middle aged parents?"  People can be legitimately concerned about how their estate might injure their heirs.  And if those people want to place conditions on an inheritance, how is that a problem? 

I'm guessing that you object about conditions have a moral/religious dimension.  Is that so?  A few questions, then:

1. An atheist millionaire leaves a bequest to her granddaughter, but only on the condition that she pursue and obtain a four-year college degree.  Is that wrong?

2. An atheist millionaire leaves a bequest of semi-annual financial distributions to his grandson (who has had a long-term drug problem), but only on the condition that the grandson takes and passes monthly drug tests.  Is that wrong?

I can understand your concern about "leverage" in a Latter-day Saint context.  An inheritance conditioned on serving a mission, for example, seems like a pretty bad idea.  Same goes with an inheritance conditioned on getting married in the temple, or continued activity in the Church.  

However, in a broader context, I could see a Latter-day Saint couple legitimately choosing not to fund the "riotous living" lifestyle of a child.  Whether the behavior is related to drugs, sexual promiscuity, failure to attend school, long-term laziness, etc.  That's the vibe I got from the video.

I don't think an inheritance should be used as an incentive to remain active in the Church, or to participate in the hallmarks associated with such activity (serving a mission, temple marriage, church attendance, that sort of thing).  These things should be done as expressions of faith, not as part of a financial quid pro quo.  But I really don't think the LDS Philanthropies video was doing anything like that.

3 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

It wasn't a leverage over my husband's family, but somewhere they felt the need to donate to the church. Their Trust is through the church I believe, this:  https://philanthropies.churchofjesuschrist.org/gift-planning/how-to-give/testamentary-giving-tools/revocable-living-trust. My MIL went a little crazy when donating to the church that recently my BIL now handles her finances so that she can afford to live in a retirement community, her bills are very high to live there. She is 93..

BTW, did you see how in Canada the church's finances are more transparent and that 80% went to BYU? Do you know anything about that? Or maybe it's another thorn in a critics' side. 

Nope, didn't see this.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 minutes ago, Analytics said:

About $20 Billion. That should be enough money to give all members a 3-year break from all donations, and be able to keep running as normal. 

I would probably save less and spend more too, if I was in charge, since that is how I handle my own finances.  $20 billion divided by 18 million members would still leave about $1,111 per person in savings for each member, if we only used it to help ourselves, which we still probably wouldn't.  But then again if we went broke it would only be money.  Right.  We would still be very spiritually wealthy.

4 minutes ago, Analytics said:

I'll just note that the Church proudly tells the world that it spends about $1 Billion a year for charity, but won't disclose how much money it has saved. It won't even disclose that to the apostles.

One of the secrets to saving money, or so I have heard, is to kind of forget about it when you put it in savings.  That way you won't be as tempted to spend it.  And then when you really need it, it would be there.

4 minutes ago, Analytics said:

More subjective opinion.  Everyone has one of those, ya know.

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6 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

That's funny. So the line is where they say it is at any moment?  Hardly a principled position for the church to take.

It's like the child who says "I'll share when I have enough."

They are then asked, "when will you have enough?"

They reply "when I say so"

 

That's a very inspirational approach for a charitable organization :) 

Yes.  It inspires faith.

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7 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Yes.  It inspires faith.

For some. And for others it crushes faith.

Did you see Anylytics statement about how Q12 aren't allowed access to seeing balance sheets? How does that fit in with your view of the inspirational use of available funds?

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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14 minutes ago, Analytics said:

According to Financial Standard #6230, apostles are not authorized to see the following details of the Church's balance sheet:

  • Cash
  • Investment Securities
  • Investment Properties
  • Other Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Net Assets

See the following document:

https://archive.org/stream/MormonDocumentsLDSChurchInternalLeaks/25-AccessingAndSecuringFinancialInformation#page/n3/mode/2up

Those in the First Presidency have unfettered access, as do those in the Presiding Bishopric, the "Finance and Records Managing Director / Church Controller," "Church Controller" representatives, "ICS" authorized employees, "Global Service Center" authorized employees, and Church Auditing.

The document, assuming it's genuine, is eight years old (2013).

And the apostles have access to the following:

  • Tithing Donations
  • Fast Offering Donations
  • Fast Offering Expenditures
  • Other Donations and Revenue
  • Operations Expenditures
  • Project Expenditures
  • Program Expenditures
  • Other Expenditures
  • Financial Records / Amounts for Individual Members

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

For some. And for others it crushes faith.

Did you see Anylytics statement about how Q15 aren't allowed access to seeing balance sheets? How does that fit in with your view of the inspirational use of available funds?

Clarification: the first presidency has full access to the financials, as does the presiding bishopric. The Q12 are the ones who aren’t allowed to see the balance sheet.

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50 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Common Consent wasn't originally designed as rubber stamp for leaders to do whatever they choose once they've been sustained. As I'm sure you're aware Common Consent has also been used (in the past) for policy matters, acceptance of new scripture, etc. It's not used that way currently but that doesn't mean the idea is ridiculous.

As a side note, when you consider what General Conference is in the church versus how other churches use General Conferences, it's easy to see (IMO) that the other churches use common consent, or democratization of policy as you would say it, in more robust ways than we do. In the LDS church it has become an obligatory signal to sustain leaders who are then free to do as they please without further oversight from the membership. I don't believe that is how it was intended to work.

Fair enough. I don't experience it that way at all but I can at least begrudge another who wrestles with it. I believe there's enough oversite to keep the ship steady without the need for the general membership to also keep tabs. 

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14 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

For some. And for others it crushes faith.

No, not knowing how much money the Church has doesn't do that.

Quote

Did you see Anylytics statement about how Q15 aren't allowed access to seeing balance sheets?

Yes, did you see my response? 

It is considered a temporal (not spiritual) concern so the Presiding Bishop of the Church has that responsibility under the direction of the First Presidency.  The Quorum of Twelve Apostles are more concerned with spiritual matters.

Quote

How does that fit in with your view of the inspirational use of available funds?

Our Lord is on record as telling his apostles to basically not worry about money.  That he and God our Father and others would provide for their needs as they went out on his mission to help others.  

We, on the other hand, are commanded to pay tithes and give offerings, such as fast offerings and humanitarian aid.  And that if we do so our bishop's storehouse(s) will be overflowing with abundant blessings from heaven.

So the more we give, the more we will receive, and the better we will be able to help others as well as ourselves.  All while our Lord's apostles are not concerned with matters of money.

Edited by Ahab
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13 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Those in the First Presidency have unfettered access, as do those in the Presiding Bishopric, the "Finance and Records Managing Director / Church Controller," "Church Controller" representatives, "ICS" authorized employees, "Global Service Center" authorized employees, and Church Auditing.

Note that other than the big 7 (First Presidency, Presiding Bishopric, Controller), the other positions you listed have asterisks indicating they can only see snippets of these details as required for their jobs. Only 7 can see the big picture for the purpose of seeing the big picture.

13 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The document, assuming it's genuine, is eight years old (2013).

And the apostles have access to the following:

  • Tithing Donations
  • Fast Offering Donations
  • Fast Offering Expenditures
  • Other Donations and Revenue
  • Operations Expenditures
  • Project Expenditures
  • Program Expenditures
  • Other Expenditures
  • Financial Records / Amounts for Individual Members

Thanks,

-Smac

Yea. Rather than establishing a target surplus like almost any other church or charity would do, the Church sets a budget based on 90% of expected tithing revenue, and saves the rest.

Apostles are privy to that process, but can’t see the accumulated result.

Given that where your treasure is that is where your heart is too, the four-fold mission of the church ought to include something about accumulating a rainy day fund big enough to impress Jesus when He returns. If that is what they are trying to do, why not disclose it to the membership?

Edited by Analytics
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53 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

What are you talking about?

McCulloch v. Maryland was about a state legislature trying to tax the federal bank.

Murdock v. Pennsylvania is vaguely religious but was about a Jehovah’s Witness who solicited donations while preaching door to door and the local government insisting this made him a door-to-door salesman which that city required a license for. It was ruled that he did not need a license.

Neither of these suggest that churches cannot be taxed. If you are getting fed these cases as evidence regarding the taxation of churches by some website or something you should discontinue using it. They are clearly okay with lying to you.

Ironically the opposite situation was the case in the American colonies both before and after the revolution. While churches were not taxed (in a tradition going back to Constantine) tax money was used for religious purposes. It wasn’t until after the Civil War when the Bill of Rights was “democratized” to apply to all levels of government equally that this was (mostly) stamped out.

The Supreme Court has defended religious tax exemptions but I haven’t seen a case won yet that mandates them.

Extremely good point.  Churches ought to be taxed like everybody else.  However, charitable contributions are not income.  

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10 hours ago, The Nehor said:

What are you talking about?

McCulloch v. Maryland was about a state legislature trying to tax the federal bank.

The Supreme Court decisions are principles which are applicable in a wide array of instances.  These include the taxing of religion since it is a Bill of Rights matter (1st Amend).  That's how the Law works.

Quote

Murdock v. Pennsylvania is vaguely religious but was about a Jehovah’s Witness who solicited donations while preaching door to door and the local government insisting this made him a door-to-door salesman which that city required a license for. It was ruled that he did not need a license.....................

There has not been and will not be a case where the U.S. Govt or the States may tax a religion.  Anyone may of course hem and haw about that all they want.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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36 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Note that other than the big 7 (First Presidency, Presiding Bishopric, Controller), the other positions you listed have asterisks indicating they can only see snippets of these details as required for their jobs. Only 7 can see the big picture for the purpose of seeing the big picture.

Yea. Rather than establishing a target surplus like almost any other church or charity would do, the Church sets a budget based on 90% of expected tithing revenue, and saves the rest.

Apostles are privy to that process, but can’t see the accumulated result.

Given that where your treasure is that is where your heart is too, the four-fold mission of the church ought to include something about accumulating a rainy day fund big enough to impress Jesus when He returns. If that is what they are trying to do, why not disclose it to the membership?

More polemics to argue a difference in savings strategy to continue a high standard of mission objectives during less prosperous times.

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23 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The Supreme Court decisions are principals which are applicable in a wide array of instances.  These include the taxing of religion since it is a Bill of Rights matter (1st Amend).  That's how the Law works.

There has not been and will not be a case where the U.S. Govt or the States may tax a religion. 

That isn’t what the Constitution says, and it isn’t how the Supreme Court interprets the matter.

Given that you disagree, why won’t you answer my question? If freedom of religion means it is unconstitutional to tax religions, why doesn’t freedom of press mean it’s unconstitutional to tax book stores?

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Did you see Anylytics statement about how Q12 aren't allowed access to seeing balance sheets?

Edited as I see now the source was clarified, ty.

 

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, Analytics said:

According to Financial Standard #6230, apostles are not authorized to see the following details of the Church's balance sheet:

Do you believe the standard that only those whose job it is to oversee this part of the Church’s organization should have access is unreasonable?

https://archive.org/details/MormonDocumentsLDSChurchInternalLeaks/25-AccessingAndSecuringFinancialInformation/

Quote

The Church’s financial statements, budgets, payroll, and other financial records are confidential or highly confidential. (See “Information and Systems Security Classification Policy” for classification details.) Management ensures that these records are accessed only by those who need them to perform their job duties and have been authorized to do so.
 

Quote

Only for departments/areas under their stewardship. Documentation of stewardship is retained by the function that provides confidential information to evidence the appropriateness of the access grant

 

Edited by Calm
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5 hours ago, Teancum said:

GAAP is the staring point for determining taxable income.  Then, based on various tax law, book to tax adjustments are made.  Some of the adjustments have basis in reasonable differences such as deduction for reserves for say future costs on service warranties a company may be obliged to make, or a reserve for a legal settlement yet to be determined.  Tax law does not allow a deduction until such items are paid. Other adjustments are just because tax law says so.  Like penalties or  entertainment costs both of which are limited under tax law just because the law was passed that says so. I do not know of anytime tax courts had said GAAP in general is not acceptable for tax purposes.

Although I don't have time to completely review all tax law cases, we can at least start with the supreme court decision in

Thor Power Tool v. Commissioner, 439 U.S. 522 (1979)

"There is no presumption that an inventory practice conformable to "generally accepted accounting principles" is valid for tax purposes. Such a presumption is insupportable m light of the statute, this Court's past decisions, and the differing objectives of tax and financial accounting."

You are right, that GAAP can be used as a starting point, but the tax code often requires deviation.

I am sure you are familiar with the M-1 Reconciliation for corporate and Partnership tax returns.

A full treatment of the subject may be beyond the ability of this forum.

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14 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

Fair enough. I don't experience it that way at all but I can at least begrudge another who wrestles with it. I believe there's enough oversite to keep the ship steady without the need for the general membership to also keep tabs. 

Why do you believe there is enough oversight? And how would you even know whether or not it is enough oversight?

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