Jump directly to the content
Annual Deadline Looms for Church-Run Schools
Annual Deadline Looms for Church-Run Schools
Racial nondiscrimination certificate is one of the most neglected federal reporting requirements.
PAGE 1 of 1

Does your church operate a preschool? An elementary school? A secondary school? A college? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you are required to submit Form 5578—a certificate of racial nondiscrimination—to the IRS each year. Form 5578 is easy to complete, and yet it is one of most commonly ignored federal reporting requirements.

Filing Form 5578

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 2012 is due May 15, 2013.

A church official simply identifies the church and the school, and certifies that the school has "satisfied the applicable requirements of section 4.01 through 4.05 of Revenue Procedure 75-50." These requirements are explained in the instructions to Form 5578, and relate to racially nondiscriminatory policies in the school's charter, bylaws, catalogs, admissions, and programs. In some cases schools are required to publicize their racially nondiscriminatory policies in the local media.

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.

Key point. The term "school" also includes preschools, and this is what makes the reporting requirement relevant for many churches, since many churches operate a preschool program. Private religious schools that are not affiliated with or controlled by a church also must file the form.

Churches that operate private schools (including preschools), and independent schools, may obtain a Form 5578 by calling the IRS forms number (1-800-829-3676) or by downloading a copy from the IRS website (irs. gov).

Key point. Some independent religious schools that are not operated or controlled by a church or other religious organization are required to file Form 990 with the IRS each year. Form 990 is an annual information return. Churches and some other religious organizations are exempt from this filing requirement. Schools that are required to file Form 990 make their annual certification of racial nondiscrimination directly on Schedule E of Form 990, and not on Form 5578.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

Related Topics:
From Issue:
Church Finance Today, 2013, May
Posted April 29, 2013


If you found this article helpful, subscribe to ChurchLawAndTax.com for access to more articles like this one.

View All
from our store
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Did you know pastors and other church staff may be required by law to report child abuse and that laws on this vary state by state?
Politics and the Church

Politics and the Church

Tax and legal guidelines faith-based organizations need to know before jumping into the political fray.
Essential Guide to Children's Ministry Safety

Essential Guide to Children's Ministry Safety

Understand and implement best practices to protect kids in your ministry.
Confronting Peer Abuse in Your Church

Confronting Peer Abuse in Your Church

Learn how to watch and protect the children under your care from peer abuse at church.