Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I recently heard a priest mention that tithe (10% as a minimum, of course) given from my salary is supposed to be from the gross salary (before tax) not from my net salary (what I actually get). However, I have always been told by different fathers to pay from what I actually get, which is my monthly net income. I know "God loves a cheerful giver" and I love to give, but I just want to make sure what is the right way to tithe.

There are two opinions here and each one has its merits, but the main principle is that we need to be generous with the Lord.

  1. Tithing can be based on your gross salary. Bear in mind that your net pay excludes many deductions, such as health insurance, Medicare, social security, maybe 401(k), etc. We should not think of paying taxes as a punishment. This is a way to financially support our country and state in which we reside. The Lord taught us to respect our government, those in authority, and to pay our taxes.

    "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor" (Romans 13:1-7).

  3. Your tithes can be paid from your net pay because the state and government taxes and other obligations have already been deducted. In addition, most people do not actually see their gross salary because just the net pay is automatically made through direct deposit.

    "And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they marveled at Him" (Mark 12:17).
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