Tue Sep 18, 2012, 09:36 AM
ehrnst (2,919 posts)
How to complain officially if a Church is violating 501(c)(3) status
Last edited Tue Sep 18, 2012, 09:44 AM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
Just sent this to a friend who attended a church where the Priest called on his flock to vote Obama out of office, but thought others here might be able to use this:
In order to remain tax-exempt under 501(c)(3), churches must abide by strict guidelines that prohibit election activity. The Code states in relevant part that 501(c)(3) organizations cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” I.R.C. Sec. 501(c)(3). Thus, as a 501(c)(3) organization, churches are strictly forbidden from supporting or opposing a candidate for public office. To do so jeopardizes their tax-exempt status. Churches cannot engage in any of the following activities under the federal tax law:
- Cannot endorse or oppose candidates for public office
- Cannot make any communication—either from the pulpit, in a newsletter, or church bulletin—which expressly advocates for the election or defeat of a candidate for public office
- Cannot make expenditures on behalf of a candidate for public office or allow any of their resources to be used indirectly for political purposes (e.g., use their phones for a phone bank)
- Cannot ask a candidate for public office to sign a pledge or other promise to support a particular issue
- Cannot distribute partisan campaign literature
- Cannot display political campaign signs on church property
Under current law, churches, as well as other 501(c)(3) organizations, may engage in nonpartisan campaign activities, primarily consisting of voter education. Thus, they may organize and coordinate nonpartisan get-out-the-vote and voter registration drives; sponsor nonpartisan candidate debates or forums, so long as all legally qualified candidates are invited to appear and wide spectrum of issues are covered; educate all candidates on issues of public interest; and create legislative scorecards or voter guides. All of these permissible activities must be done on a nonpartisan basis. A 501(c)(3) entity should not even tacitly express favor or disfavor of a particular candidate.
How to Complain
If after reading the above information, you believe a church has violated the law, fill out a Department of the Treasury—Internal Revenue Service Form 13909, available as a regular pdf to print and fill out by hand, or as a pdf form version, which allows you to fill out the form on your computer and then print.
Send the completed form by one of the following methods:
IRS EO Classification
Mail Code 4910DAL, 1100 Commerce Street
Dallas TX 75242-1198
14 replies, 1137 views
How to complain officially if a Church is violating 501(c)(3) status (Original post)
|Kindly Refrain||Sep 2012||#8|
Response to CurtEastPoint (Reply #2)
Tue Sep 18, 2012, 09:48 AM
psychmommy (1,657 posts)
5. Not mine.
On my gospel radio station there is gonna be a big discussion with pastors and listeners. I will be calling in and I will be reminding those pastors about their tax exempt status.
Response to ehrnst (Original post)
Tue Sep 18, 2012, 11:30 AM
grasswire (36,883 posts)
11. pastors at the Values Voters conference last week were told to go ahead and politicize.
They were told to preach it from the pulpit; to politicize freely. And let the IRS come after them.
Heard this on MSNBC last night when Rev. Barry Lynn was on with Ed Shulz.