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What The IRS Could Learn From Mormons

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
March 2, 2012

Lots of religious traditions stress the importance of charity. But Mormons are remarkable for the amount and the precision with which they give to their church.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints preaches that each Mormon in good standing should tithe 10 percent of his or her income. The money goes right to church headquarters in Salt Lake City, and then is distributed back to congregations around the world.

But while the church is very precise about that figure — 10 percent of income — it does not define what income means. So each person has to define income for himself. And, as anyone who has ever done their taxes knows, figuring out what counts as income is harder than it sounds.

This has given economists insight into how people deal with money when they think only God is watching them. One researcher tells us the IRS could learn a lot from how Mormons make these decisions. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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