Skip to comments.IRS Church Tax-Exempt Status
Posted on 09/16/2006 7:20:12 PM PDT by Between the Lines
IRS Church Tax-Exempt Status
Sealed and marked with Caesar
Is your local Christian assembly and fellowship a government licensed IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt corporation? Most likely the answer is yes. In fact, it's estimated by the General Accounting Office (GAO) of the Federal Government that 87% of all "churches" in the United States are licensed and recognized by the IRS as 501(c)(3) Organizations. The accuracy of this figure may be a point of controversy, but it remains abundantly clear that the majority of our local Christian assemblies are incorporated licensed entities (fictional organizations or corporations) of the Federal Government.
"TITLE 26--INTERNAL REVENUE CODE; Sec. 501 Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.; (c) List of exempt organizations; (3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sport competition... or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals... no substancial part of the activities of which is carry on propoganda, or likewise attempting, to influence legislation [except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)], and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) and political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."
***Note that there is no mention of the church here
Firstly, a local assembly of Christians is not a corporation, or trust, or any type of "exempt organization" unless some application for recognition or incorporation papers to the State has converted them to be so. A Christian assembly and fellowship of local Believers is nothing more than that... a Lawful un-incorporated assembly in Christ Jesus of which there is no Federal or State statute, code, or regulation that prohibits such assembly in an un-incorporated manner. Recognition by the IRS or incorporation of a 'church' is not required. [For clarification purposes within this article, any reference to the 'church' means a local assembly and fellowship of Christians not incorporated].
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1998), recognition is synonymous with acknowledgment.
Acknowledgment. noun. 1594. 2: a thing done or given in recognition of something received. 3: a declaration or avowal of one's act or of a fact to give it legal validity. [underlining added].
The "something" any alleged non-profit tax exempt organization (not church) "receives" for their "Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code" is:
"Public recognition of their tax-exempt status; exemption from certain state taxes; advance assurance to donors of deductibility of contributions; exemption from certain Federal excise taxes; nonprofit mailing privileges, etc." - Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Instructions for Form 1023 (Revised September 1998), Purpose of Form, 2. Organizations not required to file Form 1023, paragraph 3(b).
***Note that these are all commercial benefits for corporations and certain trusts.
If a 'church' was to declare or "avow" to the State or Federal government, what would this really mean? The word avow comes from the Latin word ad-vovere, to vow to: ad-vocare. Christians are to make vows to the Lord God and none other. Any vow made to any other than the Lord God is a vow to that which is not of God. Simple enough.
The Internal Revenue Service Form 1023 is the "application" form to obtain an IRS "Recognition of Exemption" to operate any "exempt organization" as an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) "not-for-profit tax exempt" entity.
Click here to print IRS Instructions for Form 1023
The first question every Pastor, Deacon, and local assembly of Christians in fellowship (not "members") should ask is this: Is any 'church' required to file an Internal Revenue Service Form 1023 or it's associated Schedule A of that same Form?
Let the IRS answer this in their own words:
"The following organizations may be considered tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) even if they do not file Form 1023: (a) churches, integrated auxilliaries of churches, and conventions or associations of churches" -Ibid, Purpose of Form, 2. Organizations not required to file Form 1023, paragraphs 1 and 2. [underlining added].
"Although a church, its integrated auxillaries, or a convention or association of churches is not required to file Form 1023 to be exempt from Federal Income tax or to receive tax-deductible contributions, such an organization may find it advantageous to obtain recognition of exemption" -IRS Form 1023 (Rev. 9-98) Instructions, Schedule A, Churches, Instructions, Page 13. [underlining added]
You read that correctly... the IRS does not require any 'church', church auxillary, or group of associated churches to file Form 1023 in order to be exempt from "Federal Income tax". They also say that a church can receive tax-deductible contributions even if they have not filed a Form 1023.
Click here to print IRS Form 1023, Schedule A, Page 13
The catch here is whether or not a 'church' requests the IRS to issue their own internal "recognition of exemption". This is not to say that a church is not exempt, but rather to explicitly inform the church that if they want a special recognition of exemption from the IRS, then they need to incorporate, then file a Form 1023 and its accompanying Schedule A.
Since no 'church' is required to do this, then why do they? How many Pastors and Deacons have filled out an IRS Form 1023 and never read the instructions? If they are not required to apply for this non-required IRS exemption, then why do they do it? Perhaps you should ask your Pastor and Deacons these questions. Who are they serving: the Body of Christ or the IRS? It's one or the other, so what is their choice?
A senior pastor of a large incorporated Church organization in Texas once told me that without an "IRS non-profit church status" he would loose all the Church corporate property and buildings as well as his own cars and houses. He was obviously more concerned about the material wealth status of his personal wordly assets and the new gymnasium (with a bank mortgage) that he dared to call a "Christian Life Center". He's the same Pastor who advised us to incorporate our 'church' and helped us fill out an IRS Form 1023 while sending us to his lawyers office to sign incorporation papers. I can only say that we received some wrong 'advise'. It was our own fault as we should have first looked to God's Word, His Holy Bible, and done what was correct according to Him and not that which was correct according to the world.
By licensing our 'church' with the IRS, we had given to Caesar that which was not his... that which belongs only to God... the Body of Christ... His church. (See Matthew 22:21). Our 'church' then became an incorporated "Church organization" subject to discipline and examination of the Federal and State regulators, a.k.a. Federal and State Administrative codes. We had to answer to the government first and God last. What was once an assembly and fellowship of Christians became a corporation of something un-godly. What deception we have learned to believe from these 'Pastors of Profit'; the Princes of Mercury, the god of commerce.
"The IRS considers the facts and circumstances of each organization applying for church status." -Ibid, page 13.
The Lord's church, which is the entire Body of Christ, is not an official state chartered organization and does not need to "apply" to any person, organization, entity, corporate public group, agency, or government of any kind for a "church status". Christ has already given Christians their status and recognition far above and superior to any worldly recognition. The Merriam-Webster 1998 Dictionary and Thesaurus defines this as:
- Status. noun. 1. Rating or positioning in relation to others (as in a social order, community, class, or profession) <his status as a slave>. Synonyms: Capacity, character, footing, place, position, quality, rank, situation, standing, state, station. Related word: Rating.
- 2. Social or professional importance or distinction <a lawyer of international status>. Synonyms: Cachet, consequence, dignity, position, prestige, rank, standing state, stature. Related word: caliber, merit, worth; distinction, renown; eminence, prominence.
- 3. Synonyms: STATE 1, condition, mode, posture, situation. Related word: status quo state of affairs.
In our word study, we found that the words cachet and status have the exact same meaning and cross reference to each other no less than six times. So, when the IRS licenses a 'church' they classify this 'church' with their assigned status or cachet.
Cachet. noun. French, from cacher. Circa 1639. 1 a: a seal used especially as a mark of official approval. b: an indication of approval carrying great prestige. -Ibid, Dictionary.
A local Christian assembly 'church' that is licensed by the IRS has requested for and been given the seal of the Federal Government. This is certainly not the seal of Christ. The French still use this noun cachet as in lettre de cachet or lettres de cachet which literally translate as 'letter with a seal' or 'letters with seals'. It's French origin is from 1718 and the definition is:
"a letter bearing an official seal and usually authorizing imprisonment without trial of a named person." -Ibid, Dictionary.
When a 'church' receives their "IRS letter of exemption and status" as a not-for-profit "Church organization" they have received a lettre de cachet or government 'seal of status'. It would be proper to say that, according to the Internal Revenue Code and the definitions of words, each IRS licensed church corporation bears an official seal of imprisonment. The IRS considers every licensed church organization to be perpetual and said church corporations cannot be disolved or un-incorporated but only merged into another "tax exempt 501(c)(3) corporation or trust". This is an imposed and enforced eternal imprisonment of Christians who assemble together, forced to yield to the Federal Government all that is dictated to them under their official status and seal of licensure and approval. The IRS can and does dictate what a Pastor may preach and what the assembly of Christians may do. This is imprisonment of the Word of God and the Body of Christ.
Seal. noun. Middle English seel, from Old French, from Latin sigillum seal, from diminutive of signum sign, seal. 13th century. 3: a seal that is a symbol or mark of office. -under seal: with the authenticating seal affixed. -Ibid, Dictionary.
Every IRS 501(c)3 Church Corporation has received the Federal Mark and Seal of Office. This is in direct oppositon to the Seal of the Holy Spirit.
Status also means rating, as referenced above. As you will see directly below, a rating is a military classification.
Rating. noun. 1702. 1: A classification according to grade; specifically; a military or naval specialist classification. 2: Chiefly British: a naval enlisted man.
At this point, is there any doubt that the IRS seals every licensed church organization, along with their corporate 'membership', who applies for "church status" as a State servant and soldier of the Federal Government? This seal is a mark and rating of licensure and ownership no different than wearing the rank and uniform of a government military army. Any 'church' with this corporate organization status is a member of their Army and whatever that Army stands for and enforces (i.e., abortion, lesbianism, homosexuality, ungodliness, new world universalism, immorality, ad naseam). In Truth, the 'church' is only to be a member of the Army of God. If you don't agree with these statements, read over the above definitions again. All the referenced definitions are very clear and well established in the English language. Facts are facts and His Truth is The Truth.
Every corporation is a creation of government and as such each corporation is subservient to every State decree, code, regulation, or whatever the State desires. A corporation is completely subject to its creator, the State. If a 'church' subjects itself to a State charter of incorporation, then that 'church' is publicly declaring that it was created by the State, not God.
The pastor usually becomes the Corporate President and deacons usually serve the corporation as officers. This may seem innocent enough, but what is a corporation (besides being created by the State)?
Corporation. An artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of a state. An association of persons created by statute as a legal entity. Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Ed.[underlining added]
Corporation. An artificial being, indivisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.
A private corporation is merely an association of individuals united for a special purpose, and permitted to do business under a particular name, and have succession of members without dissolution.
- A corporation exists only by force of law, and can have no legal existence beyond the bounds of the sovereign by which it is created. It dwells in the place of its creation.
- A Dictionary of Law, 1893.
Who is your creator; the State or God? Who is the sovereign head and authority above your 'church'; the State or God? Does your 'church' assemble for business; or do you assemble in Christ? Where does your 'church' dwell; in commerce or in God?
Does your corporation have a Board of Directors? Is there a corporate Financial Committee or a Building Committee? Do you have a corporate list of members? (Members of Corporate Churches are considered shareholders of the corporation and are personally responsible for all corporate judgments, liens, liabilities, etc.) If so, your corporate officers, committees, and members are legally accountable for the "Charitable Organization";
The officers of a charitable organization are accountable to the [statute] court and subject to removal by the court, or by the state board of charities. They are bound by the ordinary strict rules concerning the authority of a fiduciary [a legal trust]; and persons dealing with them must at their peril, take notice of the powers granted the corporation by it's articles of incorporation. II Corpus Juris, Charities, s103.
God's Word concerning seals, marks, status and Covenants
Now, let's hear what God has to say about His Seal. The Hebrew Rabbis have always called circumcision "the Seal of Abraham". This refers to the righteousness of Abraham's faith and Covenant with God. Abraham's Seal is a physical or outward sign of the Covenant of faith Abraham made with God; the Abrahamic Covenant. See Romans, Chapter 4.
There is the Seal of the Living God. See Revelations, Chapter 7. This reveals that all the servants of God are sealed in, not just on, their foreheads with the mark of God. This is an emblem of ownership and security marked openly for all to see upon their foreheads... right up front and plainly visible. See also Ezekiel, Chapter 9. The multitude of these with the Seal of God is more than can be numbered. These are those who have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb; Jesus, the Christ. In other words, those who are of the Body of Christ bear the Seal of God. But those who do not have this seal are not of Christ. Bearing the seal or emblem of another god excludes those professing to be Christians who do not do the Word of God.
Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this Seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that doth nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. - II Timothy, 2:19. [underlining and emphasis added].
What happens to those purported Christians giving lip service with their mouths but not doing the Word of God; and, those who take up and display the seal or emblem of another god?
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the Seal of God in their foreheads. - Revelations, 9:4. [emphasis and underlining added].
So, just exactly what is the Seal of God and how does a Christian receive this Seal? He first hears His Word; then believes in and of Him; then is sealed unto God by the Holy Spirit. Hearing - Believing - Sealing: the three steps of God's Redemption for all of mankind.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom ye also after that believed [Greek pisteuõ, total and complete reliance upon], ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession [the church purchased by the Blood of Christ], unto the praise of His Glory. - Ephesians 1:13-14. [emphasis and underlining added].
It stands to reason, by the Word of God, that hearing the Father and believing in His Son Christ Jesus alone does not seal you into His Kingdom. The Seal of God is His Holy Spirit. The emblem and mark of God is the Spirit of God. In the same respect, Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only deceiving your own selves -see James 1:22.
There is only one head of the true church, and this is definitely not the State:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. -see I Peter 2:9-10.
...Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His Own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. -see Ephesians 1:20-23.
In conclusion, it stands to reason that any 'church' that has voluntarily converted to that of a Church Corporation with IRS tax exemption status and seal has ceased to become an assembly of Christians and can not claim to be of or participate within the Body of Christ. With or without understanding of this voluntary act of incorporation committed by the Christian assembly, this has ordained them as the apostate church; A 'church' that has abandoned and renounced their faith in Christ by taking the mark of another god, the god of Mercury, the god of commerce.
Preaching Licenses circa 1775
"Give me Liberty or give me death". What event spawned this phrase that sparked the American Revolution? Patrick Henry was a devoted Christian and a friend to true religious liberty in government. He often had tracts printed at his own expense to distribute. Frequently, he would defend preachers and churches in the court rooms of Virginia without even asking for any payment.
One day, while riding through the town of Culperer, Virginia, Patrick Henry read an edict that curdled the blood in his veins. The commonwealth of Virginia had on the statute books a law demanding that preachers of faiths other than that of the state church must obtain a license in order to preach. Throughout those early days before the war of 1776, countless hundreds of men were paying a dear price to practice their faith in The Lord.
On that particular day, Henry saw a Baptist pastor tied to a flogging pole in the town square of Culpeper. His crime was preaching without a license. As young Virginia attorney Patrick Henry stood there and watched the pastor being flogged until his back was raw, something clicked inside him. During his ride home, the image of the event was branded upon his forehead and in his spirit.
Upon arrival at his house, he wrote a few words. Shortly thereafter, at Saint John's Episcopal Church on March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry stood to speak to a group debating the necessity for separation from England and the implications of freedom. The words he had penned at home while the hateful event was fresh in his mind and spirit rang clear when Patrick Henry said,
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbit it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."
Countless hundreds and thousands have arisen to those words, ready to stamp out the shackles of tyranny. However, we must never forget that it took just one Baptist pastor willing to pay the price to begin that fight for Christian Freedom and Liberty. There is a very dear price to pay for the Freedom and Liberty of Christ Jesus. For far too long, we have not been willing to pay it. Now is the time. Choose this day whom you will serve.
Some excerpts above are from a book by David C. Gibbs, Junior, From My Briefcase (1994).
A Caveat to IRS Church Corporations and Organizations
To all corporate pastors, deacons, and church members that have read the above:
You now know the Truth and His Truth will set you free; or, you will ignore His Truth and you will continue to give the princes of this world that which belongs to The Lord - His church. With either choice, you are responsible and each of you shall answer to Him for your works and be judged according to those works by the King of Kings, the Lamb of God.
Your robes shall either be white with the Pure Blood of Jesus, the Christ; or, they shall be stained with the blood of a worldly master and prince.
Choose this day whom ye shall serve; choose the mark upon your forehead; choose between the seal of another god; or, the Seal of the Holy Spirit. If you don't choose this day, then you are eternally bound to be the "lukewarm church of apostacy" and followers of "comfort zone" Christianity; of which is faith without works; of which is no faith at all; of which is not of God; of which is not His.
Woe to any who lead the sheep of His flock to one day hear His Voice proclaim "I know ye not"!
This article was written by Anthony Wayne for Lawgiver.Org
Section 508(c) of the Internal Revenue Code provides that churches are not required to apply for recognition of Section 501(c)(3) status in order to be exempt from federal taxation or to receive tax deductible contributions. Churches are automatically exempt from Federal income tax, and contributions to churches are deductible by donors under section 170.
Elsewhere, the IRS states: "Although a church, its integrated auxiliaries, or a convention of churches is not required to file Form 1023 to be exempt from federal income tax or to receive tax deductible contributions, such an organization may find it advantageous to obtain recognition of exemption (Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization, IRS Publication 557).
The church is excluded from taxation and government regulation unless it freely gives up that right.
"Sorry, you belonged to a church that had 501(c)(3) recognition. I know ye not! Next! Sorry, you belong to a church that applied for a building permit. I know ye not! Next!"
The remark was addressed to the shepherds not the sheep. So it's not about what church you belong to, but about where you are leading others.
Bump for more discussion.
I humbly disagree.
No church can ever be taxable. Money given to churches is given to worship God. Any percent of it taken is to impede the giver's intent to worship God with that money, and, therefore, free exercise has been impeded.
If there is an impediment, then it is not free.
If there is an impediment, then it is not free.
The IRS is not a necessary arm of government.
The potential for abuse of their mission is great, and it has already been abused.