Jump directly to the Content

Church Law & Tax Report

May/June 1992
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

Become a Member

Keep your church safe, legal, and financially sound.

When you become a member you get instant online access to help your church:

  • Reduce potential legal liability
  • Manage finances and risks
  • Comply with IRS requirements


Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar

Manslaughter Convictions for Parents Who Relied on Prayer to Heal Child Member access only

Parents may not endanger their children to follow religious beliefs.
Child Abuse

Criminal Sentences for Child Molesters Member access only

Sentencing varies by state.
Church Property

Property of Disaffiliated Churches Member access only

In some cases, a church's property reverts to its former denomination when it secedes.
Church Property

Disaffiliation and Congregational Splits Member access only

Which faction keeps the church building when a congregation splits?
Church Property

Denominational Bylaws and Local Church Property Member access only

Are denominational bylaws regarding district supervision legally valid?
New York
Church Property

Purchasing Vacant Facilities Member access only

Churches should never purchase a structure without an environmental assessment.
New York
Church Property

Adverse Possession and Church Property Member access only

Churches can lose a portion of their property to a neighbor.
Church Property

Buried Treasure on Church Property Member access only

Who has a right to the treasure?

"Information Returns" for Donors Member access only

President's proposal sparks outcry.
North Carolina
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Minister Receives Two Life Sentences Member access only

Clergy face significant liability for acts of sexual misconduct.
Employment Practices

Dismissing Employees Who Develop AIDS Member access only

A lawsuit over the matter was dismissed for technical reasons.
Charitable Contributions

Contributions that Refer to the Donor's Name Member access only

The IRS clarifies the deductibility of these donations.

Defamation and Church Newsletters Member access only

Can a church be sued for publishing derogatory statements in its newsletter?

Internal Church Disputes Member access only

Courts cannot interfere in ecclesiastical matters.
Counseling; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Minister's Liability for Youth Director's Sexual Misconduct Member access only

Who is liable for a church worker's misconduct?
New York
Officers, Directors, and Trustees; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Charitable Immunity Law and Sexual Misconduct Member access only

Does a charitable immunity law protect from liability for sexual misconduct?
Church Property; Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Injuries Occurring on Church Premises During Use by Outside Groups Member access only

An Indiana court makes an important ruling.
Church Property

Property Tax Exemption and Rental of Church Facilities Member access only

Church facilities are tax exempt when rented to another nonprofit corporation, court rules.
Workers Compensation

Workers' Compensation and "Charitable Work Program" Employees Member access only

Who is an employee for purposes of workers' compensation?
New Mexico
First Amendment; Schools

Legal Requirements for Church Child Care Centers Member access only

Court rules that state law requiring church-operated child care facilities to be licensed, and prohibiting spanking, do not violate a church's constitutional rights.