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The Tax Implications of Churches and Political Involvement

Sorting through the IRS rules and guidance regarding political campaigns and legislative lobbying.

The Tax Implications of Churches and Political Involvement

To maintain their exemption from federal income taxes, churches and other religious organizations must comply with several requirements specified in section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. One requirement is that the church not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office. Another requirement limits how much a church can lobby for or against legislation, referendums, and ballot measures.

Many churches have violated these requirements in the past with few, if any, adverse consequences. Over the past 30 years, for instance, there has been only one high-profile case involving the revocation of a church’s tax-exempt status letter by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) due to the church’s engagement in prohibited political campaign activities (a decision that, notably, was later upheld by an appellate court).

Enforcement ...

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Posted:
  • April 15, 2022

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