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Church Law & Tax Report

September/October 2011
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Feature Article

Securing Cribs in Your Church's Nursery Subscriber access only

New regulations will affect most churches soon—here's what you need to know.


Are Group Exemption Rulings Threatened? Subscriber access only

Debunking false claims about tax exemptions for thousands of churches.

Performing Copyrighted Programs at Church Subscriber access only

Be prepared to pay to play—unless an exemption applies

Housing Allowance Challenge Dismissed Subscriber access only

Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their challenge

New IRS Mileage Rates Subscriber access only

Increased rates for last six months of 2011.
Recent Developments

Recent Developments

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

Court Resolves Lawsuit Addressing Pastor's Financial Mismanagement  Subscriber access only

First Amendment doesn't prevent court from resolving lawsuit brought forth by former board members.
New Jersey
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Conversations Shouldn't Have Been Used for Prosecution Subscriber access only

Man's confession of child abuse to pastor shouldn't have been used as evidence in court, under clergy-penitent privilege.
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Clergy-Penitent Privilege Doesn't Apply in Molestation Case  Subscriber access only

Pastor's account stands because statements made by member weren't confidential; privilege had been waived.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Jurisdiction Over Hiring Claims Different vs. Supervision Claims  Subscriber access only

First Amendment prevents court from resolving negligent hiring claim but not negligent supervision claim.
New York
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Church Not Liable for Molestation  Subscriber access only

Court ruled church not liable for molestation of minor student by teacher on basis of negligent hiring
Clergy - Selection

Religious Freedom Prevents Court from Resolving Pastor/Agency Dispute  Subscriber access only

Pastor's claim that a denominational agency acted unfairly in refusing to circulate his resume goes unresolved by court.
Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Woman Trips Over Parking Lot Speed Bump Subscriber access only

Court dismisses woman's motion to sue church over injuries
Invasion of Privacy

Church Officials Violate of Freedom of Speech Subscriber access only

Court rules that seeking identity anonymous blogger critiquing the church and forcing him out was unconstitutional.
New York
Employment Practices

Associate Pastor Sues Church for Senior Pastor's Sexual Harassment Subscriber access only

Employer is liable for supervisory employees' acts of harassment
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Clergy-Penitent Privilege Waived Subscriber access only

Murder suspect lost privilege when he confessed murder to a law enforcement officer
Tax Calendar

Tax Calendar

Important deadlines for churches and ministers

Q&A: Is it Legal to Perform an Out-of-State Wedding?  Subscriber access only

A legal checklist every pastor should use with ceremonies in other states.



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The 4 Hour Legal Training Program for Church Boards

The 4 Hour Legal Training Program for Church Boards Subscriber access only

Understand key legal concepts necessary to protect the board and the church.
Church Finance

Church Finance Subscriber access only

Learn about budgeting, financial reporting, tax compliance, insurance coverage, and more.