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May unrecognized church accept donations?

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May unrecognized church accept donations?

May an incorporated church, which does not have 501(c)(3) status, receive tithes and offerings from its members?

A bona fide church is classified as a 501(c)(3) public charity whether or not it has received specific recognition of exemption from the IRS.  (See Ready Reference Page: “What Constitutes ‘Church’ Eligible for Exemption”) The Tax Code specifically exempts churches from the general requirement to file for recognition of charitable exemption.

If it is a bona fide church, then tithes and offerings are both permitted and deductible as charitable contributions.  Even if the organization is not classified as a church, however, members may give tithes and other offerings.  They just won’t be deductible.  It is usually a good idea to obtain a specific recognition letter to avoid issues such as these.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Here in TN. the irs told me I had to send then a copy of my weekly services, like Sunday morning service agenda, as the order of what or how we operate that day in church, in order to get recognized as a 501c3 nonprofit church. Is this true, I always thought a church was automatically exempt status if it was small and the annual budget under $10,000.00?

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