WE ARE THE CHURCH
WHAT IS A CHURCH?
The Christian Church is not a building, but is the flesh and blood
men and women, who make up the body of Jesus the Christ, proclaiming
and teaching the gospel of Christ, as it is written; "he is the
head of the body, (the Church), who is the beginning, the first born
from the dead", Col
1:18, and, "ye are the body of Christ,
and members in particular (individually)", 1
"for His body’s sake, which is the Church", Col
since, He "hath put all things under his feet, and gave Him to be
Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of
Him who fullness all in all", Eph
Cor. 3:16-17 identifies our bodies as a "temple of
God". A temple is a place where we worship our God.
"Do you not know
that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in
you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy
him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you
Cor. 3:16-17, Bible, NKJV]
The Christian Church can meet in many places and is not restricted
to any building or Physical place, as it is written; "For where
two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst
of them", Mathew
The Christian Church can be a building where the body meets or it
can be any house (of a believer in Jesus the Christ) in order to
function as a Church of Acts, since Paul spoke, "and how I kept
back nothing that was profitable (helpful) unto you, but shewed
(proclaimed) you and have taught you publicly and from house to
house", Acts 20:20 "and to our beloved Apphia, Archippus our
fellow soldier, and to the Church in your house", Philemon
In the U.S. Supreme Court decision considering the case of Everson
vs. Board of Education, 330
U.S. 1 (1947), LEd 2nd 711, the Court held
that: The "establishment of religion" of the First Amendment
means: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church.
Neither can it pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or
prefer one religion over another. Neither can it force nor influence a
person to go to or to remain away from a church against his will or
force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person
can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or
disbeliefs, for church attendance or nonattendance.
In Title 26 of the United States Code and Income Tax Regulations -
June 26, 1977 Edition - published by Commerce Clearing House, it
states in Section 1.511-2 (ii) volume 1, page 33, 471-42; and in The
Law of Tax Exempt Organizations by Bruce Hopkins - published by Lerner
Law Book Co., 1977 (page 107), it states the following: The term
"church" includes a religious order to a religious
organization if such order or organization (a) is an integral part of
a church, and (b) is engaged in carrying out the functions of a
church, whether as a civil law corporation or otherwise. (Note
"or otherwise" you do NOT have to incorporate and thus
become a creature of the State.) However, the option does remain, for
the Church to incorporate.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to both sides of this
question. One item of interest is the position taken by the State on
the rights of incorporated en-titles. The Official internal Revenue
Service Audit Guide in Section 242.31 , addressing
corporation books and records states: The privilege against
self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment does not apply to
corporations. The theory for this is that the State, having created
the corporation has reserved the power to inquire into its activities.
If we incorporate, we give up the RIGHT and become controlled,
at least to a degree, by the State. However, if we remain
unincorporated, we retain all of our in-alienable rights.
In summary, under the above regulation (1 .511-2 (ii), a
"church" is an organization, the "duties" of which
include the ministration of sacerdotal (i.e. priestly) functions and
the conduct of religious worship. The existence of the elements
depends on the "tenets and practices of a particular religious
body". A church may also include a religious order or other
organization, which is an "integral part" of a church and is
engaged in carrying out the functions of a church.
In the 9th US District Court decision, in consideration of the The Universal
Life Church, Inc. vs. United States, 372 F. Supp. 770, 776 (E.D.
Cal 1974) the court held that: "Neither this Court, nor any
branch of this Government, will consider the merits of fallacies of a
religion, nor will the Court compare the beliefs, dogmas, and
practices of a newly organized religion with those of an older, more
established religion, nor will the Court praise or condemn a religion,
however excellent or fanatical or preposterous it may seem. Were the
Court to do so, it would impinge upon the guarantees of the First
Amendment." See also: "Law of Tax and Exempt
Organizations" by Bruce Hopkins -published by Lerner Book Co.
1977, page 110, in your local law library.
From the above, we can at least say this: "Under the
Constitution of the United States, our governmental officials have an
obligation to protect freedom of religion, that is, state defined
religion; See: Abington School District VS, Schempp, 374 U.S.
From these decisions we may conclude that any claim to church status
cannot be subjected to evaluative criteria or government standards, as
such action would tend to prescribe the form and content of religious
beliefs and practices. Also, whatever rights, privileges and
exemptions or immunities are granted to ANY church, and/or
religion, are also and must, on the same basis and to the same extent,
be granted to ALL Churches and/or religions.
A NATURAL RIGHT
The first amendment of the United States Constitution reads as
follows: "Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of
We have a natural, in-alienable right to freedom of religion. No law
FOR, AGAINST or OTHERWISE can ever be made with regard to the
Church, as it exists under the Supreme Law of the Land, within a LEGAL
NULL. There is NO LAW AT ALL respecting an establishment of
religion or the free exercise thereof.
The RIGHTS spoken of here, in the first Article and the following
nine Articles (i.e. the Bill of Rights), are personal rights, fought
and paid for, by the sacrifice of human life of our ancestors. These
laws-rights, as well as the entire Constitution of the united States
of America, are in fact, the Supreme Law of the Land. The Supreme
Court of the United States has addressed itself to this fact, and
holds the following opinion: "Any law opposed to the Constitution
of the United States is as if it were NO LAW AT ALL!"
We hold this doctrine to be so important, that we have reprinted the
fullness of the text from 16 Am. Jr. 2nd, page 177, which states the
"The general rule is…that an unconstitutional
statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality NO LAW,
but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose, since
unconstitutionally dates from the time of its enactment and not merely
from the date of the decision so branding it an unconstitutional law,
in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been
passed. Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general
principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights,
creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no
protection, and justifies no acts performed under it. A contract which
rests on an unconstitutional statute creates no obligation to be
impaired by subsequent legislation. A void act cannot be legally
inconsistent with a valid one. And an unconstitutional law cannot
operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a
statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is
superseded thereby. Since an unconstitutional statute cannot repeal or
in any way affect an existing one, if a repealing statute is
unconstitutional, the statute it attempts to repeal, remains in full
force and effect. The general principles stated above apply to the
constitutions as well as the laws of the several states insofar as
they are repugnant to the Constitution and the Laws of the United
States. Moreover, a constitution will nullify is as effectually as if
it had, in express terms, been enacted in conflict therein".
Summary: From this, it is established by the Supreme Law of the
Land, that NO LAW for, because of, against, or otherwise is possible
regarding religion. NO LAW IS NOT LAW AT ALL! The church exists in a
legal null, under the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution of the
united States of America.
The Question: Is the Church an organization which is listed as tax
exempt in Title 26 of the United States Code (26 USC)? Note: 26 USC,
(i.e. the code), is the LAW which the Federal Legislature has passed -
so it is primary. The regulations, (the code), expound what the Internal
Revenue Service has held concerning the Code taking into consideration
court cases, rulings, etc.
Internal Revenue Code, Section 501 (c) (3) - List of exempt
organizations, foundations and establishment organization, etc.;
organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes (the church).
Restrictions - No part of the net earnings of which insures to the
benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of
the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise
attempting to influence legislation, and which does not participate in,
or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of
statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for
public office, (page 4379).
1.501 (a)-1 - Exemption from taxation Section 501 (a)
provides an exemption from income taxes for organizations which are
described in Section 501 (c) (volume I , page 33, 431).
We see from the above information, that the church exists as an exempt
organization under the laws of the United States of America; that is,
the Church; and not the person or individuals who establish it.
RULES WITH RESPECT TO 501 (c) (3) ORGANIZATIONS
Under the NO LAW concept of the First Article of the
Constitution of the united States of America, is there any requirement,
by law, for the church to make application for recognition of Exempt
- New organizations must notify the
secretary that they are applying for recognition of 501 (c) (3) status EXCEPT
as provided in Subsection (c), (page 4395).
Code 508 (a)
- Exceptions - mandatory exceptions
- subsection (a), shall not apply to - (A) Churches, their
integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.
Code 508 (c) (1) (a)
RETURNS BY EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS
So far, we have established under the NO LAW concept of the First
Article that: The Church is exempt by right and does not have to
petition any government agency for recognition of exempt status. In
fact, as stated in the above paragraph, the law (Regulation
26 CFR 1.508-1(a)(3)(i)(a)), the church is exempt whether it files notice or not.
Let us say we have established a church and operated said church for
one year. The question comes to mind: When every organization and
private person is required to file an annual tax return - does the
church also have to file?
Section 6033 (a) (2) (A) Mandatory Exceptions - Paragraph (1)
shall not apply to - (i) churches.
Section 6033 (a) (2) (A) (i) provides for mandatory exceptions to
filing requirements for religious organizations and states that
filing requirements shall not apply to "churches", their
integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.
Section 6033 (a) (2) (iii) exempts as well "the exclusive
religious activities of any religious order.
Explanation: Under Section
6033, your church or religious order
has complete immunity to disclosure. It is not necessary for you to
maintain records of any kind except for your own purpose and
Can you believe it? The congress remained true to the Supreme Law of
the Land, again. The First Article says: "Congress shall make no
law respecting an establishment of religion," . .
. and they have NO LAW whatsoever.
DISSOLUTION or TERMINATION
People are no more than the sum total of what they think, say and do.
Let us say, because of who we are and where we are emotionally,
spiritually, academically, financially, and personally, we can no longer
live with or otherwise support our involvement in the Church and/or the
ministry. Is there any requirement for the person or persons who
establish, and operate a church to notify ANY government agency of a
dissolution, termination or substantial contraction of their church?
Code 6043 (b) (1) - No return shall be required under this subsection
from churches, their integrated auxiliaries, conventions or associations
Regulation I , Section
6043-3 - Return regarding liquidation,
dissolution, termination or substantial contraction or organizations
exempt from taxation under 501 (a). (Volume 3, page 40, 325)
Regulation I , Section 6043-3(b) - Exceptions. The following
organizations are not required to file the return described in paragraph
(a) of this section.
Regulation 1 , Section 6043-3(b) (I) - Churches, their integrated
auxiliaries, or conventions or associations of churches.
In terminating the Church existence, there is a form published just
for that action. The number of the form is: Form 966 - E and it
U.S.C. 6043 (b) of the Code and your responsibility
thereunder. The title of this form is: Liquidation, dissolution,
termination, or substantial contraction of organizations exempt or
formerly exempt under section 501 (a). The Church is in
501(c) (3), and
every organization in (c) is also in (a). You will find in the
instructions at the bottom of the page, that the Church, the integrated
auxiliaries and/or conventions or associations of churches are exempted
from filing this form.
This completes our initial consideration for the establishment,
operation and termination of a church. We believe in fact, a Church
established using the above information and based on the information
provided, with the establishment of a church, the Church can do three
(3) things: (1) Originate; (2) Operate; and (3) Terminate
(termination is non-scriptural, however is necessary for
governmental peace); without any responsibility to any agency, civil
government or otherwise; to gain their approval, sanction, or any other
blessings, with regard to recognition of exempt status (which is your
Since a Church is mandatorily exempted from filing for recognition of
exempt status and the Church is mandatorily exempted from filing any
return with any government agency, you can terminate the Church without
telling any government agency anything. The Church, in fact, exists
within a legal null. There is NO LAW. AMEN.
"Religion is not confined to a sect or a ritual. The symbols of a
religion to one are anathema to another. What one may regard as charity
another may scorn as foolish waste. And even education is today not free
from divergence of view as to its validity. Unity School of
Christianity, 4 B.T.A. 61, 70 (1926).
Judge Brattin for the Eastern District of California, in Universal
Life Church, Inc. vs. United States, 372 F. Supp. 770,
776 (E.D. Cal 1974), states: Neither this court nor any branch of this
government will consider the merits or fallacies of a religion. Nor will
the court compare the beliefs, dogmas, and practices of a newly
organized religion with those of an older, more established religion.
Nor will the court praise or condemn a religion, however excellent or
fanatical or preposterous it may seem. Were the court to do so, it would
impinge upon the guarantee of the First Amendment."
Further, in United States vs. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163
(Supreme Court 1965), "we find the court addressing the
concept of God and religion and holding that the test of belief in God
(they put in Supreme Being) is whether a given belief that is sincere
and meaningful occupies a place in the life of its possessor, parallel
to that filled by the orthodox belief in God of one who is clearly
religious". Assuming the holding of the court is valid in the above
cases, it then necessarily follows that any lawful means of formally
observing the tenets of faith of any religious body is worship within
the meaning of the tax exemption provisions.
In the case of Fellowship of Humanity vs. Alameda County,(’57),
153 Cal A. 2nd 673, 315 p. 2nd 394, it is held that:
"The terms "religion" or "religious" in tax
exemption laws should not include any reference to whether the beliefs
involved are theistic or non theistic. Religion simply includes: (1) a
belief, not necessarily referring to supernatural powers; (2) a cult,
involving a gregarious association openly expressing the belief; (3) a
system of moral practice directly resulting from an adherence to the
belief; and (4) an organization within the cult designed to observe the
tenets of belief. The content of the belief is of no moment."
COURT DECISIONS REGARDING ORDINATION
In Kibbe vs. Antram, 4 Conn. 134, 139, we see
that to "ordain" is to vest with authority - ministerial
function - or sacerdotal power. Also from the same
case it is established that, "the ordination" of a clergyman
remains even after his separation from a church of which he once had
charge, and his spiritual authority continues, although he is not
settled over a particular congregation".
From Buttecali vs. U.S.C.C.A., Tex. 130F. 2nd 172, 174,
the following rationale is stated: "Generally a duly ‘ordained
minister’ is one who has followed a prescribed course of study of
religious principles, has been consecrated to the service of living and
teaching that religion through an ordination ceremony under the auspices
of an established church, has been commissioned by that church as its
minister in the service of GOD and generally is subject of control or
discipline by a council of the church".
In Ruggles vs. Kimball, 12 Mass. 337.338, it states:
"The minister may be installed over some particular society, either
incorporated or unincorporated."
THE MAKING OF AN
ORDAINED CHRISTIAN MINISTER
First of all, we need a minister, Duly Ordained, or who may be
installed and/or commissioned by the Church. This individual is usually
the product of the following evolution:
Has accepted Jesus the Christ and his or her Lord and Savior.
Professes personally that Jesus the Christ came in the flesh and was
the Son or God, I John 4:1.
Has or she has been anointed by the Father, who art I Heaven as an
apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher and desires to fulfill
his or her calling.
The Church may now ordain and give whatever written or oral
confirmation it so desires.
CHRISTIAN CHURCH LEADERSHIP
The RULERS of each Christian church is: its governing Board of Elders.
This board is limited as to what it can do by law and must forever and
always struggle to remain above and beyond reproach. If they don’t;
they will endure a world of trouble and personal pain from bureaucratic
agencies, established and operated by persons who have nothing but time
to create and disseminate trouble, problems and pain. This Board of
Elders is further limited by the organizations creative documents (i.e.,
see Church charter and by-laws).
We have already seen that case law supports any decision a Church
makes, regarding ordination and the final decision as to form and
function should be left up to the Elders of each church.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
It would appear from the above, that what is "religious"
and/or "religion" depends upon a person’s personal belief
and not upon any organized or official stand. One’s concept of the a
Supreme Being" cannot be subjected to evaluative criteria; as long
as it is sincere, meaningful, and occupies a place in his life equal
to that concept of God which a person of an orthodox persuasion
might hold. Now, before you perform brain surgery (and let’s face it,
that is what you, the minister, witch doctor, and/or politician, do -
operate on the minds of men), it would be well for you to: "Study,
to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be
ashamed rightly dividing the word or truth." (II Timothy
In Reinhart, 9 Ohio S & C. P. Dec. 441 ,442, "The
moment an attempt is made to limit or restrict ordination to some
special form of ceremony, we begin to discriminate between the diverse
modes and forms of ordination practiced by the various religious
societies. The laws of Ohio make no discrimination in any respect
between Catholic, Gentile, Jewish, or any other religious societies or
denominations; much less do they attempt to prescribe any mode or form
of ministerial ordination, which is defined in the Standard Dictionary
as "the act or rite of admitting and setting apart to the Christian
ministry or the holy orders, especially in the Roman Catholic, Anglican,
and Greek church’s consecration to the ministry by the laying on of
hands of a bishop or bishop; in other churches, consecration by a
presbytery synod, or council of ministers." It has been the
practice of this court, therefore, to grant the license to authorize the
solemnization of marriages to duly commissioned officers in the
Salvation Army who were engaged under such priests, Jewish rabbis,
teachers and ministers of spiritualistic philosophy, and in fact all
persons who can prove to the satisfaction of the court that they have
been duly appointed or recognized in the manner required by the
regulations of their respective denomination, and are devoting
themselves generally to the work of officiating and ministering in the
religious interest and affairs of such societies or bodies"; thru
See also the Book of Concord, which contains the Confessions of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and dates back to 1523 A.D., translated
by Theodore G. Tappert, For-tress Press, 1959, under the General Index: ORDINATION
- "as a sacrament", on page 212.11; "ordination by
heretics are valid", on page 314.3; "the right of the church
to call, elect, and ordain ministers", on page 331 .67; "the
bishops’ right to ordain", on page 330.62; "the popes’
right to ordain", on page 320.5; etc.
BOILING IT DOWN
From the above it is clear that: an ordination is only a recognition
by some religious society, (the congregation), publicly proclaiming that
said individual is vested with spiritual authority; a right which that
individual had prior to public proclamation. If, after once having been
ordained, a minister leaves his church and congregation, his ministerial
authority does NOT cease even though he is no longer physically tied to
that initial religious (church) body. Generally, most ministers have
studied and are under the authority of some governing body. Whether the
church is incorporated or unincorporated, the state has no authority
whatsoever in the internal affairs of the church. And finally, the form
of the ordination and the ceremony thereof means very little when we
take into consideration all the other religious organizations in the
United States - the rites of one religious body are considered just as
credible as any other religious body.
The law requires every taxpayer to maintain records that will enable
him to complete an accurate and complete return (see Internal Revenue
583). However, the church is a tax
exempt organization by right and is not considered to be a taxpayer,
even though it operates as a separate legal entity which can buy, sell,
rent, own real property, do any and all kinds of business, as well as
sue and be sued just like a natural born person.
RELATED CHURCH BUSINESS
The church operates generally on an exempt basis. This is, exempt from
property tax, (some states have a qualifying procedure, so you must
check with your local county tax assessor), exempt from state sales tax
and state income tax in most cases. (You should check with your
individual state taxing authority, as this also varies from state to
state). Exempt from Federal Withholding, FICA and FUTA taxes for its
ministers (see Internal Revenue Service
Publication 15 circular
exempt from Retail Federal Excise Tax and finally, exempt from Federal
Income Tax on its exempt purposes (see Internal Revenue Service
publications 598 and
SPECIFIC EXCEPTIONS TO UNRELATED
Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service
Publication 1828: Certain Income - producing activities are exempted from
tax even though they may be from an ongoing, unrelated business. These
exceptions are: (1 ) Activities in which substantially all the
work is performed for the church by unpaid volunteers. (2) Activities
carried on by the church primarily for the convenience of its members,
students or employees. (3) Selling merchandise, substantially all of
which has been received by the church as gifts or contributions. (4)
Generally, dividends, interest, annuities, royalties, and capital gains
and losses. (5) Generally, rents from real property. Examples of
Exceptions: A church holds a monthly bingo game. If substantially all
the work is done by unpaid volunteers, the income is not taxed.
Similarly, if a church regularly holds fund-raising dinners, open to the
public, the income is not taxed if substantially all the work is
done by unpaid volunteers.
The specific exceptions of dividends, interest, annuities, royalties,
and capital gains and losses, are aimed at excluding passive income from
tax and taxing income from active businesses. For example, if a church
owns stock in a taxable business, dividends from the business are not
subject to the tax.
Under certain circumstances, however, property acquired by a church
for its use for exempt purposes in the future is not treated as
"dept-financed. "An example of this is a church purchasing
land by mortgage for a new church building and renting the land while
collection a building fund. As long as the exempt use of the property
begins within 15 years, any rental income from the real property falls
within the exemption and is not taxable.
RETURNS BY EXEMPT CHURCHES
- 26 U.S.C. Section 6033 (a)(2) (A)(i) ~ Generally, the
"church" is mandatorily excepted from filing an annual Federal
Tax Return (that is Form 990-A), which all other 501(c) (3)
organizations are required to file.
- This does not apply to the unrelated trade or business of a church
however. This is brought to light in the regulations as Regulation
Section 6033-1(I)(1) which states: "Certain
organizations (i.e. churches) otherwise exempt under section 501 (a) and
described in 501 (c) (3) are required to file a Federal Tax Return on
Form 990T, on unrelated trade and business."
WHERE ARE WE?
- From the above we may conclude the following: (1 ) churches may
or may not keep permanent books and records. (2) These may include:
records, and inventories sufficient to show specifically the items of:
(A) Gross Income, or, (B) Receipt (contributions, gifts, etc.)
(C) Disbursements (expenses). If said church is involved in unrelated
trade and business, it must keep permanent books and records relating
specifically to the unrelated trade and business.
THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE
(a) exempts religious organizations from the need for
filing returns of any kind. Section 6033 (a)(2) (A)(i) provides for
mandatory exceptions to filing requirements for religious organizations
and states: that filing requirements shall not apply to churches,
their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of
churches. Section 6033 (a) (2) (A) (iii) exempts as well the
exclusively religious activities of any religious order.
EXPLANATION: Under Section
6033, your church or religious order has
complete immunity to disclosure. It is not necessary for the church
to maintain records of any kind except for your own purposes and
of a minister of the gospel or other
spiritual material, gross income does not include: I) the rental
value of a home furnished to him as part of his compensation; or 2) the
rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation to the extent
used by the minister to rent or provide a home.
SECTION 107, in the case
In order to qualify for the exclusion, the home or
rental allowance must be provided as remuneration for services which are
ordinarily the duties, of a minister of the gospel or other spiritual
material. The rental allowance may be used for the rent of a home, the
purchase of a home, and for expenses directly related to providing
a home. Expenses for food and servants are not considered for this
purpose to be directly related to providing a home.
SECTION 3401(a) (9) provides that the definition of the term
"wages for tax withholding purposes does not include
remuneration paid "for services performed by a duly ordained,
commissioned or licensed minister of a church in the exercise of his
ministry or by a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties
required by such order; etc."
EXPLANATION: Internal Revenue Service regulations provide guidelines
for Internal Revenue Service employees to help them understand the
Internal Revenue Code. Internal Revenue Service Regulation 31.3401(a)(9)-1
states: "Service performed by a member of a religious order
in the exercise of duties required by such order includes all duties
required of the member by the order. The nature or extent of such
service is IMMATERIAL so long as it is a service that the
minister is directed or required to perform by ecclesiastical superiors.
If Father McLaughlin is directed by his order to
work for the federal government in the Office of the President, then his
employer (in this case the federal government) is not under any
compulsion whatsoever to withhold either federal income taxes or social
security taxes. A member of a religious order may be required by his
order to be an Advisor to the President; a pilot, or a bank loan
officer. The regulation states that the nature or extent of such service
SECTION 170 provides that up to 50% of an individual’s Adjusted
Gross Income (AGI) is deductible for contributions to religious and
charitable organizations. The "General Rule" allows tax
deductible status for contributions to "a church or a convention or
association of churches, etc.".
EXPLANATION: A person with an Adjusted Gross Income of $30,000 may
contribute up to $15,000 and claim such a deduction. Other subsections
of Section 170 provide for donations of income-producing assets and also
for the Unlimited Charitable Deduction sometimes known as the "Nun’s
SECTION 1402 (c) (4) provides that "the performance of service by
a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church in the
exercise of his ministry or by a member of a religious order in the
exercise of duties required by such order", is not considered a
"trade or business" when used with reference to
self-employment or net earnings from self-employment.
An auto mechanic, gardener, or medical doctor
may be self-employed, if the religious order of which one is a member directs
one to undertake duties in one’s field of training or experience,
as a self-employed person, then any income received not taxable as
income from a "trade or business".
15, 1978, Circular E, EMPLOYER’S TAX GUIDE,
is distributed free of charge by the Internal Revenue Service. On
page 11, you will find that "Members of religious orders who have
taken a vow of poverty "performing duties required by the order"
are exempt from "in-come tax withholding" and from
SECTION 1402 (e) exempts "a member of a religious order who has
taken a vow of poverty as a member of such order" from taxes under
the Federal Insurance Contributions (sic) Act, (i.e. FICA or social
security). There is no requirement that you file for this exemption from
social security tax. The exemption is automatic when you are a member of
a religious order, who has taken a vow of poverty as a member of your
Any person, including any government official, within the jurisdiction
of the Constitution of the united States of America, who acts to prefer
one religion to any other in an official capacity, is acting in the
violation of the Constitution of the united States of America. At the
very least, a government employee may be dismissed for violating his
oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the united States of
America and he or she may be subject to civil and criminal penalties,
with fines up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to five years, or both.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
: CAN THE CHURCH PAY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE IF I AM THE
Answer: YES. If the Board of Elders votes that the minister and his
family should be covered with such insurance. You may vote to have the
Church reimburse the members for all the medical, hospital, dental, and
other health care including medications, provided such coverage is for all
family members and intended for the Church by taking care of the health of
: CAN THE CHURCH PAY FOR LIFE INSURANCE IF I AM THE
Answer: YES. If the Church is made the beneficiary in the
policy and the coverage is voted on by the Board of Elders.
: CAN I DONATE TO THE CHURCH, IF I AM THE MINISTER AND A
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF ELDERS?
Answer: YES. The law says you may donate "up to 50% of your
taxable income to a recognized Church of your choice". "You have
a right to a religion and the right to fund the religious entity of your
: CAN THE CHURCH PAY THE UTILITIES IF MY HOME IS THE
Answer: Yes. The Board of Elders of the Church may vote to have the
Church pay a reasonable part of the utilities or all.
: DO I GET ANY KIND OF PERSONAL EXEMPTION IF MY HOME IS
USED AS THE PARSONAGE AND FOR CHURCH MEETINGS?
Answer: YES. Your are entitled to the value of that part of
the house used by the Church, the same as if you rented that portion of
: HOW OFTEN DOES A CHURCH HAVE TO MEET?
Answer: Generally, Churches meet on a weekly basis. However, there
is no rule in the law, so it may be assumed that the meetings are so
spaced as to be reasonable for the religious purpose of the Church. We
recommend weekly services. A Church meeting is when two (2) or more people
congregate for a religious purpose.
: HOW OFTEN DOES THE BOARD OF ELDERS MEET?
Answer: Usually once or twice a year. Under certain circumstances,
your Board of Elders may vote to meet several times throughout the year.
: HOW MANY MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ELDERS MUST BE PRESENT
TO HAVE A LEGAL MEETING?
Answer: At least two (2), out of three (3), (a quorum).
: IS IT NECESSARY TO KEEP MINUTES OF BOARD OF ELDERS
Answer: Only if you desire. If so Everything done by a Church would
be done by RESOLUTION, voted on and passed by the Board of Elders. You
need record only those things which did receive a majority vote in the
Board of Elders meeting.
: WHO DECIDES WHICH MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ELDERS MAY
SIGN CHECKS FOR THE CHURCH?
Answer: The Board of Elders makes this decision and it is very
important to record the vote in the minutes.
: CAN I TAKE PARSONAGE OFF THE TAX ROLLS IF THE CHURCH
OWNS THE PROPERTY?
Answer: No property ever comes off the tax rolls. Property may be
exempt from property taxes if it can be proved that the property is used
EXCLUSIVELY for religious purposes. Check this with your local tax
authority for requirements.
: WHAT OTHER FORMS OF INCOME MAY THE CHURCH RECEIVE TAX
Answer: The Church may receive any form of donations. The Church
may receive any form of "passive investment" such as: Real
Estate, Stocks, Bonds, Mortgages or Bank Interest. The Church can sponsor
any kind of a fund raising event.
: DOES A CHURCH HAVE TO FILE A TAX RETURN TO THE STATE OR
Answer: NO. An un-incorporated, non 501(c)(3) Church is a mandatory
exemption from this requirement. See 26 USC § 508(c)
: WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHURCH ASSETS WHEN THE PASTOR DIES?
Answer: Your church is operated by the Board of Elders. Upon your
death, as pastor/founder/minister, the remaining Board of Elder members
simply appoints a new minister and the Church goes on indefinitely. If all
the members of the Church should die, including the entire Board of
Elders, and all Church assets were completely abandoned, the assets would.
All Church assets may be donated to a designated Charity or Church as
previously voted upon by the Elders. It must make a lateral move.
: DO I HAVE TO PUT ALL OF MY PROPERTY INTO THE NAME OF THE
Answer: You can put ALL or none or as little as you want to in the
Church name. If you take the vow of poverty, you should put it in the name
of your spouse or donate your worldly possessions to anyone of your
: HOW DO I PROVE MY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CHURCH?
Answer: You should write check from your personal checking account
for the amount each month. Then at the end of each tax year, photocopy
both the front and the back of the checks and receipts. Attach the
photocopies to your copy of Form 1040.
: HOW SHOULD ANY CHECK BE MADE OUT?
Answer: Pay to the order of: the Name of the Church.
: HOW SHOULD THE CHECKS BE SIGNED ON THE BACK (when they
Answer: "The Name of the Church, For Deposit Only."
: SHOULD I ALSO SIGN MY NAME ON THE BACK OF THE CHECKS?
Answer: No. It is not necessary.
Question: HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN BE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH AND HOW FEW?
Answer: You need a minimum of two (2) Elders (members). (You, your
spouse or another). You can have as many members in the Church as are
interested in being members. If there are particular concerns as to a
potential legal attack you may want to consider that Elders be
established from three (3) or more households as scripture tells us that
a cord of three is not quickly broken.
Religious Freedom is Your RIGHT!
It is up to YOU to protect it.