Saturday, November 25, 2017

Churches and Their Support of Political Candidates

    Churches are automatically 501(c)(3) organizations, and as a result, they don’t need to apply to receive their tax-exempt status. Like all 501(c)(3)’s, churches are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in ant political campaign on behalf of any candidate for elective public office. They are also prohibited from making any contribution to a political campaign fund. Engaging in these activities may result in denial or revocation of their tax-exempt status. However, in 2014, over 1600 pastors participated in a movement called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”, where they made election speeches and sent tapes of the speeches to the IRS. The IRS responded by issuing Revenue Ruling 2007-41 which gives examples of proper and improper political activity. Some examples of proper political activity include: Ministers can endorse candidates if they do not make the endorsement at an official church function, in an official church publication, or otherwise use the churches assets, and do not state that they are speaking as a representative of their church. Candidates can also come speak at churches if all candidates running for an office have equal access and the church does not endorse any of them. To learn more about what types of political activity churches can engage in click here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2015/09/20/tax-rules-forbid-churches-endorsing-candidates/#3bc0dee264e7

 

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http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2017/11/churches-and-their-support-of-political-candidates.html

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