Pastors' parsonage exemption: What would televangelists pay if their mansions weren’t tax exempt?

Inside Edition/YouTube
Inside Edition/YouTube

"Inside Edition" recently investigated the topic of tax-exempt parsonages. The news report featured drone footage and pictures of some of America’s largest church-owned mansions. Investigative reporter Lisa Guerrero attempted to interview televangelist Jesse Duplantis regarding his residence, but he refused to answer questions.

Associate Pastor and Political Scientist Ryan Burge told "Inside Edition": “If you have a multi-million-dollar house, your property tax bill could be $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year. But if it’s classified as a parsonage, now you don’t have to pay property taxes on that home. That $50,000 could pay the salary of an elementary school teacher in your local public school.”

The property-tax exemption on church and ministry-owned homes is governed by state laws. It differs from the parsonage housing allowance which was created by Congress and involves a tax exemption from the federal income tax.

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In 2021, a Houston Chronicle investigation identified 28 parsonages in Texas worth more than $1 million.

Here's a list of the largest pastor parsonages in the United States and how much televangelists and their churches are saving by using this tax exemption. 

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