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Tithing: Thinking At The Margins – Part III

This is Part III of the six-part series where we discuss business and employment. Please remember that my only goal is to help you think through your view of paying a full tithe.

Here are some scenarios with the questions that each raises.

You’re an employee.

    • Do you pay tithing on your net or gross?
    • What if you incur significant, non-reimbursed expenses that you would not have if you weren’t working at that job? In other words you have to spend money to make money. (e.g., paying for your own uniforms, tools, extra mileage on a personal car, etc.)
    • What if you have a significant financial setback? For example, you make $40,000 per year and end up paying more than $10,000 for medical expenses.
    • If you pay on your gross salary, do you pay tithing again on a tax refund?

You do consulting or contract work.

    • Do you pay tithing on your net or gross income?
    • What if there is a significant difference between your gross and net? For example, you gross $100,000 but after paying all your expenses, you only net $10,000. Do you pay on the $100,000 (and exactly break even) or do you pay tithing on the $10,000?

You own a small business.

    • Do you pay on the gross or net of the business, or on your personal gross or net?
    • What if there’s some commingling of business and personal assets? For example you work out of your home, you use the same computer or digital camera for work and personal use, etc.
    • Are reinvestments in the business subtracted from your gross before calculating tithing?
    • If you reinvest all the profit from the business in order to grow it, do you wait to pay tithing until you sell it?

You sell some small items that you paid for with post-tithing money.

    • Do you pay tithing?
    • Only if you turn a profit?
    • You sell the items at a yard sale.
      • You’re unlikely to sell items for more than you originally paid, so will you owe any tithing?
      • Are you actually working to earn the money from the yard sale, so it no longer has anything to do with the original value of the items, but rather the income you receive from working to sell your stuff?
      • Does enjoying the items for several years before reselling them cancel out what you paid for them and now you should pay tithing on whatever amount you receive?
    • What if you buy a set of toys with post-tithing money, selling part of the set and keeping the rest.
      • Do you pay tithing on the gross or net profit?
      • Do you quantify the value of the portion you kept and let that factor into your tithing calculation?

You trade services with someone. Do you owe any tithing?

Continue on to read the other parts in the series:

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