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How do you determine if a nonprofit is recognized as a church?

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How do you determine if a nonprofit is recognized as a church?

I am trying to find out whether our organization is recognized as a church for tax purposes. Is there any other category under which we could be exempt?

Normally a church qualifies as exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code and the parameters for qualification as a "church" are fairly broad. (See Ready Reference Page "What Constitutes Church Eligible for Exemption.") Some churches obtain a letter of recognition from the IRS, but an organization that meets the description of a church is exempt even if it has not requested a formal recognition of exemption. 
If you do not qualify as a church, which normally provides worship for its congregants, you might qualify under Section 501(c)(3) as a religious organization that is not a church. In that case, you would have received a letter recognizing the exemption. You should check IRS Exempt Organization Select Check, which lists charities the IRS has recognized. 
Section 501(c) also includes 29 other sub-sections that provide exemption for various other types of organizations. You can review them in IRS Publication 557, which discusses exempt status generally. It is available on the IRS website.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

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