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‘Tax-exempt’ doesn’t erase all tax issues

Churches are automatically considered tax-exempt organizations by the Internal Revenue Code,


Structuring an intern program

Many churches, ministries and charities are increasingly using volunteers


Picking a fight with the IRS: The politics issue


From the founding of our country until 1953, churches and their ministers enjoyed complete freedom to address social, moral, Biblical and political issues. Churches have enjoyed exemptions from federal income tax in every income tax law enacted since 1861 without any restrictions on the political activities of the church. But in 1954 all that changed. As part of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson added a new condition to the tax exemption for all nonprofit organizations: no political activity. This amendment to the Code prohibited all nonprofits from doing anything that would support or hinder a candidate for elective office. (For purposes of this article, I will use the prior sentence as the definition of “political activity.”) This amendment was added at the last minute without any discussion or hearings.


Under fire: The ‘ministerial exception’

There is a blockbuster religious freedom case that is currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. Courts have generally believed that federal employment discrimination statutes do not apply to church employees performing religious functions.


Protect the morals of the church in employee agreements

Thanks to the “Employment At Will Doctrine,” employers have historically been granted broad latitude in the area of hiring and firing employees.


Should churches and ministries care about trademarks?

“A good name is more desirable than great riches,” says Proverbs 22:1 but it takes an effort to keep it that way.


Home(s) sweet home(s): Update on housing allowances

Most pastors are probably familiar with the provision in the Tax Code that allows pastors and ministers to exempt a parsonage, or housing allowance from their taxable income.


The unthinkable: Responding to sexual abuse allegations


Churches spend considerable amounts of time and effort to put in place policies and procedures designed to prevent occurrences of child abuse within their ministries.


Right now is a great time for next year’s tax planning for pastors


Though current year tax planning often occurs at year-end, this is an even better time for “Next Year” tax planning.


‘Dangling the carrot of subsidy’


The United States Supreme Court on June 28, 2010, decided the case of Christian Legal Society, Hastings College of the Law v. Martinez.