We are pleased to share a wonderful summer camp ministry resource, focused on child safety and provided courtesy of Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention (ECAP). Falling squarely within ECAP’s important mission, its Camp Child Safety Guide helps pastors and ministry leaders to proactively vet summer camp options and to promote optimal child safety from a child abuse prevention perspective.
Does your organization own real estate that could be used by others? Perhaps your organization’s building or other property is currently occupied in whole or in part by other occupants? While the nonprofit sector has occupants, usage fees, and related agreements, a parallel dynamic exists in the commercial world where occupants are known as tenants, usage fees are known as rent, and related agreements are comparable to leases. Oftentimes, the key driver for such an arrangement is financial, which is fully appropriate for a commercial setting. But in the nonprofit context, real estate may be exempt from property taxes, revenues preferably remain tax-exempt, and additional non-commercial considerations may warrant a different approach for third-party space usage.
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)