New IRS publication on churches & tax exemption

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a revised version of its publication, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations. The 28-page multi-colored publication provides guidance on obtaining and keeping tax exempt status, employment taxes, unrelated business income taxes, employee business expenses, record keeping and filing requirements.

The IRS says that this is meant to be a quick reference to the current state of tax law and procedures as they relate to churches and religious organizations. They say it will be revised from time to time.

Download the document here and pass one along to your treasurer and vestry.

HT to Religion Clause.

Comments (2)

E4GR has a really helpful (and short summary) of what church can and can not do here:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/dfc_attachments/public/documents/343/Your_Church_and_Politics.pdf

I would warn that the E4GR summary does NOT cover the implications of ballot initiatives. Ballot measures have been treated by the IRS as lobbying -- the electorate functionally becomes the legislature in such circumstances. Consequently, a church CAN take a position on particular legislative policies in the form of ballot initiatives.

A church may also contribute to ballot initiative campaigns if they comply with state and local campaign finance law which is separate from IRS considerations.

Tax exemption carries with it restrictions on PARTISAN speech. It does not prevent non-partisan social advocacy.

Jan Adams

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