The return of the random poll on tithing

One of M*’s most popular posts was one in which readers voted on whether they pay on net or gross or in some other way. This is definitely a discussion worth having. With no further ado, we encourage you to visit this post and vote on how you tithe.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

7 thoughts on “The return of the random poll on tithing

  1. I’m a small (very small) business owner. I’m currently the only employee, although hopefully that will change within a year or two. And being a small business owner makes tithing so much more complicated.

    I obviously can’t pay tithing on the business’s gross income. That would be pretty ridiculous. My business spends a ton of money on advertising, rent, supplies, etc.

    I pay my own healthcare costs. If I were working for an employer, those costs would be paid for me, for the most part, and I’ve never heard of someone paying tithing on healthcare insurance costs their employer was paying for them. How do I handle it? Do I take out healthcare costs before figuring my tithing? What if I have a crappy insurance plan and end up paying most my healthcare costs out-of-pocket?

    What about retirement savings?

    I miss the days when the big question was just “gross or net.” It’s not nearly so clear-cut now.

  2. Tithing is between you and Heavenly Father only. Pray to Him and listen for his answer. The Church says 10% of your increase (interpreted to mean income for those who receive a salary). Working your own business, increase may mean are you better off than you were last week, month, year?

  3. Tim, I have been in your shoes. As Bob says, this really personal, so I am not saying how you personally should handle it. But one way to handle is to pay 10 percent on the portion of your business that is your personal income.

    So let’s say you have a business that brings in $100k/year. Half of that is spent on rent, inventory, health insurance, office supplies, etc — the stuff that clearly goes to your business. The other half goes to your personal income. So, your personal income would be $50k and you should dedicate $5k to tithing.

    Most people when they are starting a business take very small personal incomes so they can help the business grow, so this ratio may be completely different for you. There was one year when only 10 percent of my business’s gross revenue went to personal income. But the next year my business grew and my personal income went to half of the gross revenue.

    Anyway, that is one way to handle it.

    Good luck with your business.

  4. Income that has been tithed is blessed income, consecrated income. Therefore, when we tithe on the gross, the taxes we pay are in effect, consecrated and blessed taxes. The government thus inherits the blessings sealed upon that consecrated income. It’s like we have paid tithing on behalf of the government. (Or at least the portion of the government we personally fund through our taxes.) Tithing the gross could be viewed as a patriotic gift of divine blessing that we give to the government, by virtue of our love and loyalty to it.

    And even if tithed taxes amount to the tiniest fraction of the total, we can still trust that God will offer His blessing to the whole. After all, God promised Abraham he would spare Sodom if he could find just ten righteous people in it. So even a few righteous souls among millions can make a big difference to the whole.

    I would be interested to hear a libertarian perspective on this topic. My own views are informed by my personal belief that government has a divine right to tax it’s citizens. How would perspectives on tithing change if one believed that taxation was theft?

  5. Believing that our businesses are an extension of our self, with all the power to do good and bless others that a self walking around can do, I believe in tithing what we can. Does that mean we pay tithing on our salary and also on the corporation? Perhaps not. But I do counsel business owners to tithe in other ways. Do you have a social bottom line? Are you supporting a particular charity with your business? Do you participate in volunteerism efforts? Do you plan to contribute in ways that offset the expenses of a social effort but that are less costly for you? Sometimes money is complex and sometimes it isn’t. Tithing time or resources is often less complex. The point of tithing is that it moves us toward a consecration mentality. I think the bigger question we could ask ourselves is not what amount we tithe but whether we have moved closer to the consecration mentality than perhaps a year or two ago. Are we searching for ways to tithe more?

  6. If I pay on the gross, should I include only my salary or also my benefits? So my salary plus employer’s health insurance contribution, bookstore discount, and retirement. Surely I should not also include the subsidized parking for employees, because I ride my bike. But then, how will I calculate my “increase/income” from the free cookies before seminars, department retreat and holiday party, and the free shower in the bathroom just across the hall? Hmmm, this is going to be very challenging…

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