This April 24, 2010 file photo shows Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen at Dodger Stadium during his “A Night of Hope” in Los Angeles.

Famed megachurch pastor Joel Osteen sparked ire online over claims he doesn’t pay taxes.
But he probably does pay taxes, especially on income made from his books.
Wealthy people in roles like Osteen’s often inspire backlash over their fortunes and positions.

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Celebrity pastor and author Joel Osteen is drawing ire online over a Ferrari. Twitter users are up in arms over the car’s hefty price tag, which some claim is a whopping $325,000 (Osteen reportedly owns a Ferrari 458 Italia, according to the Houston Chronicle).

It also ignited debate over the summer’s hottest topic: taxes. Following the Ferrari incident, #TaxTheChurches started trending, alongside claims that Osteen does not pay taxes. Turns out, these claims probably aren’t exactly true.

“Joel Osteen pays lots and lots of taxes because his book sells,” Ryan Burge, a pastor and an associate professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, told Insider.

Osteen, one of the country’s most famous pastors due to his wide-reaching broadcasts, books, and celebrity worshippers, hasn’t taken a salary from the Lakewood Church since 2005, according to the Houston Chronicle. Instead, royalties from his cadre of bestselling books likely pay for his lavish car and home, and experts told Insider that he likely pays taxes on them.

Rumors of his failure to pay taxes are likely conflated with the fact that his church – which reportedly can bring in upwards of $80 million in donations and has had $90 million in operating expenses – is largely exempt from paying taxes. The hullabaloo over Osteen’s car is another example of backlash, amidst historic inequality in the US, against the ultra-wealthy pastor, who is one of the most famous figures associated with “prosperity gospel” or the idea that financial success is the result of faith in God.

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Joel Osteen Ministries did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Osteen makes a lot of money off books, and probably pays taxes on that income

The annual salary for Osteen’s role would be $200,000, according to the Indy Star, but he hasn’t drawn that in over a decade.

Osteen’s larger-than-life lifestyle is likely propped up by speaking engagements and royalties from his books, the first of which came out in 2004 and sold more than 8 million copies, according to Publisher’s Weekly. The Christian Post reported that the multi-million dollar deal for his second book was greater than the $8.5 million Pope John Paul II got.

In addition to his Ferrari, Osteen owns a $12 million home according to an extensive profile in the Houston Chronicle. He and his wife reportedly paid $247,000 in property taxes in 2017.

Churches pay little in taxes in the US

Churches like Texas’s Lakewood Church are largely tax exempt with the exception of paying payroll and social security taxes to their staff, according …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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