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Church Law & Tax Report

July/August 1999
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

Revoking an Exemption from Social Security Member access only

Ministers may soon be allowed to revoke an exemption

Federal Court: Revocation of Church's Tax-Exempt Status Was Proper Member access only

Ruling upholds rare instance when IRS took away exemption for political activities.

The Supervision of Small Children Member access only

A Georgia court addresses church liability-Bull Street Church of Christ v. Jensen, 504 S.E.2d 1 (Ga. App. 1998)


Recent Developments

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

Recent Developments in Ohio Regarding Church Membership Member access only

An Ohio court ruled that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom prevented it from resolving a dispute between a dismissed church member and his former church.
Church Records

Legal Development in Texas Regarding Church Records Member access only

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that a state nonprofit corporation law that granted a limited right to inspect corporate records did not mandate the disclosure of donor records.
Income Taxes - Clergy

Recent Developments Regarding an IRS Ruling on Clergy Income Tax Member access only

The IRS ruled that three "ordained deacons" in a Methodist church, who served as the ministers of education, music, and stewardship, were "ministers" for federal tax purposes.

Recent Developments in Arizona Regarding Clergy Removal Member access only

An Arizona court ruled that it was barred by the first amendment from resolving a dispute between a church and a priest concerning the termination of the priest's employment, but it could enforce a church's judgment authorizing an award of damages to the priest if it could do so without becoming "entangled" in church doctrine.
New Jersey

Recent Developments in New Jersey Regarding Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

A New Jersey court ruled that some documents maintained by a Catholic Archdiocese were not subject to disclosure in a civil lawsuit.

Recent Developments in Mississippi Regarding Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that a communication made by a prison inmate to a deacon was not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Recent Developments in Iowa Regarding Constitutions, Bylaws, and Charters Member access only

The Iowa Supreme Court suggested that it was barred by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom from resolving a dispute involving the interpretation of church bylaws, but it refused to dismiss the case on procedural ground.

Recent Developments in Federal Courts Regarding Insurance Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that an insurance policy covered two denominational agencies that were sued as a result of the sexual misconduct of an affiliated pastor, despite the fact that the policy excluded sexual misconduct claims.

Recent Developments in Louisiana Regarding Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities Member access only

A Louisiana court ruled that a charity that sponsored an overnight youth activity was liable on the basis of negligent supervision for the death of a 12-year-old girl who drowned in a hotel swimming pool.
New York

Recent Developments in New York Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Member access only

A New York court ruled that the failure by a public school principal to perform a background check on a volunteer worker did not make the school liable, on the basis of negligent hiring, for the volunteer's sexual molestation of a minor.

Recent Developments in Washington Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Member access only

A Washington state court ruled that a church official did not have a legal duty to protect persons from the actions of a church member.

Recent Developments in Colorado Regarding the Taxation of Church Property Member access only

A Colorado court ruled that two vacant lots owned by a church were exempt from property tax because they were used one day each year for religious purposes.