Must a church file for a tax exempt status with the IRS?

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ageofknowledge
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Must a church file for a tax exempt status with the IRS?

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Post by ageofknowledge » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:29 pm

I wish I could figure out whether or not a church has to file for a tax exempt status with the IRS in order to be tax exempt. Consider the following:

"For 55 years, churches have been mislead on why they need to 'apply' for a Federal Tax Exemption” under section 501-c-3 of the IRS Code. The threat of revocation of a church Tax Exemption was provided courtesy of Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson.

Johnson was not a friend of the church in general, and when this new part of the IRS code became effective in 1954 it set a new tone of just what a church, its pastor and ministries could participate in and speak about from the pulpit. It was Johnson's way of silencing churches and killing the overwhelming influence they had on helping to determine what was right or wrong as far as public policy went. It has worked so far, but.

Most churches believe that they will lose their Tax Exempt status if they speak about politics, or social issues that spill over into politics or endorse a candidate from the pulpit. This simply does not hold water as you will see below.

The part of the IRS Code that most churches have fallen prey to is Section 501-c-3 which requires charities to fill out IRS Form #1023 and #1024 in order to be considered for a Tax Exemption. Most churches without delving into the issue would simply file these two forms with the IRS to get their Tax Exemption. Problem is that once you apply and are approved for a 501-c-3 Tax Exemption, then the IRS can tell you what you may or may not say from the pulpit.

But in IRS Publication 557 it is noted:

Some organizations are not required to file Form 1023. These include: Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men's or women's organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group. These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).

All of this is covered in Section 508-C-1-A which excludes “churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches”.

To me it means that if your church would normally qualify under Section 501-c-3, then the church, interchurch organizations, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men's or women's organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group automatically qualify for the Tax Exemption. Under this section of the IRS code, it is my feeling that the IRS cannot limit your speech from the pulpit, or tell you what organizations your church may belong to or participate in, as they may in section 501-c-3. The church has AUTOMATICALLY been granted the Tax Exemption they sought simply by being a church under section 508-C-1-A of the IRS Code.

Above everything else, I am not an Attorney or Accountant, but I have had experience with this situation. But before you go attempting to remove your 501-c-3 status for your church (if you already have it), it would be very wise to seek the wisdom of your churches Attorney and Accountant and point out the IRS Code's in question. If you are starting a new church, or thinking about starting a new church, then this is information that you need to know about. Free speech is a shrinking commodity in America. The more we know about our rights, the better off we are.

All of this is one reason that the IRS has revoked but af few churchesTax Exempt status since 1954 when this 501-c-3 regulation went into effect."

http://www.examiner.com/x-2359-Evangeli ... th-the-IRS

Does anyone know?

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