In recent years, churches have become increasingly aware of restrictions on political activity imposed on 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations.
Since 1954, the federal tax law has prohibited 501(c)(3) exempt organizations, including churches and ministries, from intervening in any political campaign. However, some tax law specialists also say there are circumstances in which such organizations may participate in nonpartisan educational activities even if they relate to a political campaign.
The tax code makes a distinction between “political campaign activity” and “influencing” legislation. In general, the tax code allows 501(c)(3) organizations to engage in a limited amount of lobbying activity, so long as such activity is not “substantial” and includes issue advocacy that does not support or oppose any candidate.
So how is a church supposed to navigate this thorny arena? Here are some “best practices” that will help keep your ministry on track and out of trouble:
*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.
The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
Text to follow...