Jump directly to the content

Members' Right to Inspect Church Records

Members may inspect records only if they have a “proper purpose” for doing so.

Tennessee
State:
Categories:

A Tennessee court ruled that church members were not legally entitled to inspect certain records of their church on the basis of a provision in the state nonprofit corporation law giving members a right of inspection, since they lacked a "proper purpose" for their request.

The Tennessee nonprofit corporation law specifies that members have a legal right to inspect "accounting records" only if "a demand is made in good faith and for a proper purpose, the member describes with reasonable particularity the purpose and the records the member desires to inspect; and the records are directly connected with the purpose for which the demand is made."

Several members of a church sought to inspect the church's financial records as part of their investigation into financial mismanagement by the pastor and other church leaders. The church resisted this request, arguing ...

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

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

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • November 1, 2011

Related ResourcesVisit Store

Using Social Media Safely
Using Social Media Safely
Policies to keep your church staff and members safe when using social media.
Record Keeping
Record Keeping
Learn best practices for protecting confidential documents.