Stewardship Question and Answer—Tithing from Inheritance or Gift

QUESTION:  Am I supposed to pay tithe from the value of a house, land, car, a pair of trousers, etc., which I inherited from my parents or some relatives? How am I supposed to calculate the value of the inherited house, car, and so forth?

ANSWER: If you continue living in that house or owning the land or driving the car, etc., you are not obligated to give the tithe of those gifts; but when you sell the house, the land, the car, then you need to tithe on the amount received from selling those inherited assets.

Let me share with you a quotation from the Ellen G. White Writings Website: “Inheritances received in cash are personal income. The current value of inherited property or other assets constitute personal income at the time they are received. In some cases, such as the inheritance of land, it may not be possible for the person to return the tithe until a portion is converted to cash.”—Tithing Principles and Guidelines, p. 32.1.


QUESTION: Does God require me to pay tithe from gift money such as pocket money, birthday money, or Christmas money?

ANSWER: Gift money (pocket money, birthday money, Christmas money, etc.) are all God’s blessings to you, and all are regarded as your income. For all of those gifts, you return tithe.


QUESTION: If my parents give me money or if they care for my needs and buy me shoes or clothes, am I supposed to pay tithe from all they give me?

ANSWER: If because of your age you are still under the direct supervision of your parent(s), it is their responsibility to take care of your needs. You do not need to return tithe on the things they provide for you. But suppose, for instance, that your parents give you $100 in cash to buy a pair of shoes, then when you go to the store to buy the shoes, you find that the price of the shoes you want is 50 percent less of $100, and you pay only $56 for the shoes, including tax. In addition, your parents do not ask you to return the balance, so the balance of $44 is your money. The amount of tithe you return to God, then, is $4.40.


QUESTION: What is the source of the GC’s policy regarding whether one has to pay tithe from the gross salary or from the amount you receive after tax deductions?

Thanks for helping me out!

ANSWER: Let me share with you a quotation from the Ellen G. White Writings Website on the question of whether one has to pay tithe from the gross salary or from the amount you receive after tax deductions. This is rather a lengthy answer:

“Tithe should be computed on the gross amount of a wage or salary earner’s income before legally required or other employee authorized deductions. This includes federal and state income taxes which provide for services and other benefits of responsible citizenship. Contributions to Social Security may be subtracted.”—See Guideline III-F., Tithing Principles and Guidelines, p. 22.5. 

“Through the years the Seventh-day Adventist Church has taken the position that members should return tithe on their gross personal income before deductions for Social Security, federal and state income tax, etc.”—Tithing Principles and Guidelines, p. 22.6. 

“Back in 1879, writing in The Review and Herald, James White made the following comment: ‘Does the word income mean the gross income of all that comes into one’s hand . . . or does it mean net income?’ . . . After carefully reviewing the subject from all points, we answer, A tithe of all our income. This does not mean a tenth of our annual increase of property after the cost of food and clothing, and other expenses are paid, but that nine parts of our income are to meet all these expenses, while a tenth of our income is the Lord’s. July 31, 1879.”—Tithing Principles and Guidelines, p.  23.1.

“The General Conference Committee studied this matter at the 1943 Annual Council and the following recommendation was approved: ‘We advise all our believers that according to our best knowledge we should adhere to the principle under which this denomination has carried forward its work from the early days, and not permit income tax or any other expense from the salary to affect that portion reserved by God for Himself. This would mean the paying of the tithe on the full salary and earnings before any deduction and payment has been made by way of income taxes.’”—Tithing Principles and Guidelines, p. 23.2.



Daily Devotional

Rebuking the devourer

I had just started doing a correspondence Bible course and a pastor came to have Bible studies with us. When he heard about Mum, he brought along two other pastors, and together they anointed and prayed over her.