Tarrant County, Texas is a politically diverse area that leans towards the Republican Party. According to state law, religious organizations are allowed to claim tax-free clergy residences of up to 1 acre. However, each county in the state has its own appraiser responsible for overseeing local properties, so no entity has examined how many parochial houses there are in Texas, their value and their legality. Using a database of 30 million profiles, Zippia estimates the demographics and statistics of Tarrant County.
Recently, Tarrant County voted by a narrow margin in favor of Democrat Beto O'Rourke against U. S. Senator Ted Cruz. An analysis conducted by Carey Cockerell, former director of Tarrant County Juvenile Services and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, revealed that new policies and practices used by prosecutors and judges are driving the increase.
The Bonds Ranch Homeowners Association alerted appraisers earlier this year that the 2,300-square-foot parsonage of Dido United Methodist Church had been rented for the past five years, apparently violating the legal requirement that religious organizations not make money in their homes for tax-free clergy. Texas law allows billions of dollars in questionable tax breaks for a variety of interests, from well-connected people to large corporations and thriving churches. Property records also show that San Antonio's Cornerstone Church did not request an exemption for any clergy residence in Bexar County. Vanderbloemen and Pushpay published a joint study on large churches (defined as those that attend more than 500 people) in which salaries and trends in church staff were analyzed in depth.
The data presented does not represent the opinion of Tarrant County and its employees or that of Zippia. The salary paid may be different for the same position at Cowboy Church Of Tarrant County depending on experience, skills and competencies, and education. This year, at the urging of the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops and Faith-Based Texas Values, legislators increased the period of time that churches can skip property taxes on vacant land they intend to develop in the future from six to 10 years. In theory, churches can divide their average attendance by one of these ratios to measure the size of their staff.
While buildings used for worship are exempt, “it's clear that the Legislature did not consider the exemption of a parsonage built on land adjacent to a church rather than built on a different block or miles away” an appeals court concluded in a 1918 case in which judges denied a Methodist church's attempt to avoid taxes on its San Antonio clergy residence. In East Texas, the chief appraiser for Hunt County South said he has granted an increasing number of 100 percent religious property tax breaks in pens, pastures and barns, all of which are considered reasonably necessary for so-called cowboy churches. North of Dallas, Denton County appraisers unduly allowed a 100 percent tax relief on the 2.5-acre parsonage of the Denton Baptist Temple at least since 1992, even though the church itself revealed the excess area in its application. So what is the average number of staff members at a church in Tarrant County? It is difficult to determine an exact number as it depends on factors such as experience, skills and competencies, education and size.
However, churches can use their average attendance as a guide to measure how many staff members they should have.