Concern About 501c3 Not Being Biblical

by Amanda

Hi! I have been called to start a ministry for teenage girls.

And after praying and then researching and finding all the information about 501c3 not being biblical, I am wanting to know what is my next step?

Will I still be able to take donations for this ministry?

And how does that work?

Its really unnerving to me because it seems every christian organization and church I have talked to has sent me in the 501c3 non profit direction!:-/

So ANY information you can send my way will be so appreciated!

Thank you!!

Comments for Concern About 501c3 Not Being Biblical

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by: Anonymous

How can i open a Church where they ask you for a legal paper in (Pennsylvania).

Donations to non-501c3 ministry
by: Admin

Hi Amanda,

Your question about whether you can accept donations as a non-501c3 church raises important issues.

We do not give tax advice to anyone for one very good reason:

The IRS and the Supreme Court both say that you cannot rely on anything the IRS publishes to defend yourself if they decide to argue with you.

If you cannot rely on what the IRS says about tax law, then you cannot rely on anything an attorney or an accountant says either. They cannot be 'experts' if the IRS itself is not an authoritative 'expert' in tax law.

The issue you raise is not whether you can take donations. Anyone can give anyone else a donation (e.g. to a beggar).

The issue is whether the donor can take a tax deduction.

Some 'experts' say yes, others say no. There would be no confusion if IRS materials were legally factual.

So, you need another way to think about your ministry.

So, we call your attention to the following...

If you define your ministry according to the definition on our homepage as a "religious activity that brings BOTH minister and people closer to God", then that must be your first concern and goal; to accomplish that mission.

Then, your primary concern will not be whether you should function in such a way to make it convenient for people to use the ministry for a financial gain to lowering their federal and state taxes.

That simply is not the purpose of ministry as we understand and define it.

Rather, we believe, that people should support a ministry because of its religious purpose and its goal of bringing the people home to God. And those donors, who support God's work and are not looking for an indirect financial benefit, are definitely out there.

You might want to seek them out for donations as you develop your ministry.

If you will rely heavily on donations for your ministry, and God wants it to be a ministry on which he can rely to bring the girls safely home, then your faith should tell you that he will help you find ways to do that without putting the ministry under the censorship of the IRS.

So, you can alleviate some of your confusion about "the next step" simply by writing down the purpose of you ministry and what its actual priorities are to be.

If creating a donation deduction for taxpayers is high on your priority list, (as it is for many religious organizations) then maybe you are not starting a ministry but a 'tax haven' under the guise of doing ministry. Such 'apparent ministries' are soundly rejected by Jesus (Mt 7:21ff).

If your ministry is designed to please God and operate under his laws, and not the censorship rules of the IRS that kick in when you file a 501c3 application, then God will help your ministry to flourish.

Hope these remarks help you to think your way through the issue you raised about donations.

All the best in your new work.

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