Religious Tax Reclassification for Public Charities

Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other houses of worship have long enjoyed Section 501(c)(3) public charity status, with resulting exemption from IRS Form 990 filings, availability of clergy housing allowances, and religious liberty protections. When, why, and how should other faith-based organizations affirmatively seek IRS reclassification as a “church” – or as an “association of churches” or “mission society” – with similar tax and other legal benefits? The following article addresses such questions extensively, including applicable tax considerations, corporate governance aspects, legal requirements for housing allowance, employment discrimination aspects, and other resulting implications. We hope this deep-dive guidance will help those who are interested in religious tax reclassification. This article was co-authored by W&O Partners Sally Wagenmaker, Ryan Oberly, and Paul Winters and was previously published in Thomson Reuters’ Taxation of Exempts Journal (Jan./Feb. 2022)

Some—Not All—Nonprofits Are Subject to HIPAA Requirements

All nonprofits should maintain confidentiality of medical information related to their employees, program participants, and volunteers. Is such information subject to “HIPAA?” For many organizations, the answer is no – HIPAA does not apply across the board to all medical information generally. But privacy concerns may nonetheless warrant protection of such sensitive information. Such protection may be acutely important amidst current COVID times, with individuals’ medical information the subject of intense interest to employers, government agencies, and others.

Nonprofit Holiday Highlights

The year 2021 is quickly winding up, and 2022 is just across the horizon! Our law firm’s attorneys and paralegals deeply value the honor and opportunity to assist so many amazing nonprofit organizations and their incredible leaders, and to help advance their compelling and worthwhile missions. Thank you for this opportunity to serve as trusted legal advisors providing client-focused solutions, creative approaches to advance clients’ interests, and vibrant community engagement to help the nonprofit sector flourish. As a parting gift for this year, we’d like to share some holiday cheer – and what better way than through providing links to some key W&O blog articles across our nonprofit practice groups? We hope the W&O blog will continue to be a valuable resource for you!

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