What is a 501(c)(3)?

What is a 501(c)(3)? How do churches become 501(c)(3)s? What are the biggest benefits and disadvantages of 501(c)(3) for churches? Let’s take a look at the most commonly asked questions about 501(c)(3) organizations—and what they might mean for your church.

This article is for informational purposes only—it is not intended to provide (and should not be relied upon for) tax or financial advice. For help filing as a 501(c)(3) or other tax questions, please consult with a tax professional or the IRS Tax Exempt & Government Entities Division.

1. What is a 501(c)(3) church?

The term “501(c)(3)” comes from the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) that provides churches and religious organizations with federal tax-exempt status. 

The expression “501(c)(3) church” commonly refers to churches that qualify for this tax-exempt status through one of the following ways:

  • Applying and being registered as a 501(c)(3) organization with the IRS 
  • Meeting the requirements established by the IRS in section 501(c)(3)

This post was originally posted on the Subsplash blog. Continue reading the original 501(c)(3) church FAQs blog post to find steps to:

  • What are the benefits of 501(c)(3) for churches?
  • What are the disadvantages of 501(c)(3) for churches?
  • Do churches have to file for 501(c)(3) status?
  • 501(c)(3) rules for churches
  • And much more!

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