Module 7- Staying in Honor & Operating in Integrity
Here I attach the following document so you can familiarize yourself with what the IRS calls a church. I also want to call your attention to pages 9-13 to learn exactly what a traditional 501c3 can and more importantly cannot do. None of those apply to either a 1st Amendment Church nor a 508c1a. We decided to stick to the rule to never ever in-CORP-orate, due the spiritual underpinnings of that, but felt it was a solid compromise to maintain 508c1a status.
This status is proved in retrospect and you should maintain all your records of accounting for 4 years, as per this document. We try to follow closely these requirements while ignoring the ones that do not apply to us as 508c1a, which I highlighted above. We also do not have to file any paperwork. Only save and maintain our records.
As Shown in the glossary:
Church: Certain characteristics are generally attributed to churches. These attributes of a church have been developed by the IRS and by court decisions.
I distinct legal existence;
I recognized creed and form of worship;
I definite and distinct ecclesiastical government;
I formal code of doctrine and discipline;
I distinct religious history;
I membership not associated with any other church or denomination;
I organization of ordained ministers;
I ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study; I literature of its own;
I established places of worship;
I regular congregations;
I regular religious services;
I Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young; and
I schools for the preparation of its ministers.
The IRS generally uses a combination of these characteristics, together with other facts and circumstances, to determine whether an organization is considered a church for federal tax purposes.
The IRS makes no attempt to evaluate the content of whatever doctrine a particular organization claims is religious, provided the particular beliefs of the organization are truly and sincerely held by those professing them and the practices and rites associated with the organization’s belief or creed are not illegal or contrary to clearly defined public policy.
The following publication is included to help you decide if you wish to not obtain an EIN nor claim 508c1a status. In today’s world, collecting donations online is literally impossible without presenting your IRS status. We chose to go with this route, as we do not agree with Pastor Jerald Finney’s conclusions, and after internal assessment decided for our setup, it was not in violation of our religious rights, provided that we were not forced to sign any contracts. I include this document to help present both cases so you may decide which way you choose to go.
If you decide to go the EIN Route, call or fax the IRS and have your SS4 ready to go. Either fax them the ss4 or call them and inform them you have your SS4 and simply read it off to them.
Study the requirements to meet the definition of a church and see how many you have checked off. Brainstorm how you will meet more requirements in the future. Plan accordingly.
Live in integrity and go forth in the highest of your mission.
It has truly been an honor getting to facilitate this divine path for you on your journey. Thank you for trusting me and resonating with the temple.