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Church Law & Tax Report

November/December 2009
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

When the IRS Comes Knocking Member access only

New guide identifies key audit issues.


Creating a Severance Agreement Member access only

An effective way to avoid employee disputes.

Zoned Out Member access only

Why churches end up on the outskirts of town—and what you can do about it.

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Bankruptcy; Charitable Contributions

Protection of Charitable Donations Member access only

Court rules that charitable contributions made by bankrupt church member cannot be recovered.
Rhode Island

The Clergy-Penitent Privilege: Acting as a Spiritual Advisor Member access only

Court rules protection does not apply to statements made to a former minister acting as a psychiatrist.
Clergy - Discipline and Removal

Pastor Sues Church for Discrimination and Defamation Member access only

Courts are prevented from applying employment laws to churches and ministers.

Church Preschool Sued for Failing to Accommodate Autistic Child Member access only

Seek legal counsel before deciding to exclude a disabled child from a school or preschool.

Church Preschool Sued for Spanking Incident  Member access only

Be careful to supervise employees who work with small children.
Taxation - Church Property

Property Tax Exemption for Leased Facilities Member access only

Church property leased to another nonprofit organization may still be tax exempt.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Youth Pastor Jailed for Sexual Misconduct Member access only

Clergy may face extremely severe consequences for sexual abuse and exploitation.


Q&A: Can Our Pastor Perform a Legal Marriage Ceremony While Aboard a Cruise Ship? Member access only

This complex question requires a knowledge of both state and international laws.