Filing One of the Most Neglected Federal Reporting Requirements
Requirement applies to religious organizations involved in a private school.

Background. Churches and other religious organizations that operate, supervise, or control a private school must file a certificate of racial nondiscrimination (Form 5578) each year with the IRS. The certificate is due by the 15th day of the fifth month following the end of the organization's fiscal year. This is May 15th of the following year for organizations that operate on a calendar year basis. This means that the Form 5578 for 2000 is due May 15, 2001.

Private schools. A "private school" is defined as an educational organization that normally maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and normally has a regularly enrolled body of pupils or students in attendance at the place where its educational activities are regularly conducted. The term includes primary, secondary, preparatory, or high schools, as well as colleges and universities, whether operated as a separate legal entity or an activity of a church. The term "school" also includes preschools, and this is what makes the reporting requirement relevant for many churches, since as many as 25 percent of all churches operate a preschool program. Private religious schools that are not affiliated with or controlled by a church also must file the form.

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Posted: May 1, 2001
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