Jump directly to the Content

Other Religious Organizations

§ 5.01.03
Key point 5-01.03. Federal tax law refers to several kinds of religious organizations in addition to churches, including conventions or associations of churches, integrated auxiliaries of churches, integral parts of a church, and qualified church-controlled organizations. It is important to define these terms in order to determine whether or not special tax rules apply.

The Internal Revenue Code, income tax regulations, and IRS rulings refer to a number of church-related organizations, including conventions or associations of churches, integrated auxiliaries of a church, integral agencies of a religious organization, integral parts of a church, qualified church controlled organizations, religious and apostolic organizations, and religious orders. These terms are defined in a companion text. [76] R. HAMMAR, CHURCH AND CLERGY TAX GUIDE (published annually by the publisher of this text).

There is little if any justification for the confusing number of terms employed by the Internal Revenue Code and the income tax regulations in describing church-related organizations. Such terminology suggests a confusion on the part of Congress and the IRS in dealing with church-related organizations. An even more troubling concern is the largely discretionary authority of the IRS to interpret these ambiguously defined or undefined terms.

In summary, there clearly is a need for Congress to (1) reduce the unnecessarily confusing number of terms used in the Internal Revenue Code to describe church-related organizations; (2) sufficiently clarify the remaining definitions to eliminate discretionary application by the IRS; and (3) demonstrate a greater deference to the legitimate perceptions of bona fide churches concerning those entities that are sufficiently related as to come within the definition of the term church.

Table of Contents

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.