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Churches

Tax Court recently reversed an IRS determination that a nonprofit religious corporation was not a church.

The Tax Court recently reversed an IRS determination that a nonprofit religious corporation was not a church.

In reaching its decision, the Tax Court applied the following fourteen criteria developed by the IRS for determining whether a particular organization is in fact a church :

  1. a distinct legal existence;
  2. a recognized creed and form of worship;
  3. a definite and distinct ecclesiastical government;
  4. a formal code of doctrine and discipline;
  5. a distinct religious history;
  6. a membership not associated with any other church or denomination;
  7. an organization of ordained ministers;
  8. ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed studies;
  9. a literature of its own;
  10. established places of worship;
  11. regular congregations;
  12. regular worship services;
  13. Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young;
  14. schools for the preparation of ministers.

The IRS has stated that no single factor is controlling, and that all ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1987

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