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Legal Developments

Richard Hammar’s Review of Cases Affecting Ministers and Churches

This section contains a summary of court decisions, administrative rulings, and legislative developments that directly affect churches and clergy. Court decisions reflect decisions of all state appellate courts and supreme courts, and all federal courts.

State trial court decisions are not reviewed since they are unpublished and have no value as legal precedent. All of these developments are important, but some are of vital significance. Therefore, each development should be reviewed carefully.

Note that there are many “key points” associated with Legal Developments. These are intended to help you more quickly comprehend the importance of each development. To help you go deeper on a specific topic or issue, the numbered key points in Legal Developments align with the numbered key points in Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition (ChurchLawAndTaxStore.com) and the Legal Library available on ChurchLawAndTax.com.

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Newest DevelopmentsView All

Discrimination; Schools

Court: ADA Case Brought Against Religious School Allowed to Proceed Member access only

A federal court refused to dismiss a mother’s lawsuit, stating the school’s denominational ties—and possible exemption from the federal law—must be proven.
February 2023
Income Taxes - Clergy; Payroll Tax Reporting

Minister Fined After Failing to Pay $25K in Income Tax Member access only

US Tax Court tosses minister’s ‘frivolous’ argument for underreporting tens of thousands of dollars in W-2 income, levies fine under section 6673 of Tax Code.
January 2023
Taxation - Church Property

Church Property Held in New Jersey Bishop’s Name Still Tax-Exempt Member access only

Church’s constitution and bylaws played a key role in court’s decision.
January 2023
Income Taxes - Clergy

Case Underscores IRS’s Power to Impose Tax Liens on Ministries Member access only

Agency’s action targets Florida minister who had more than $7 million in unpaid taxes.
December 2022
Invasion of Privacy

Church School Not Liable for Alerting Parents of Fired Coach’s Ban from Campus Member access only

Invasion of privacy claim failed because of how the school handled public messages about former employee.
November 2022