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Religious Organizations

Charitable Choice and Faith-Based Initiatives: Government Funding to Religious Social Service Providers (NP9702-1)
Religious organizations have long provided social services, but recent welfare reforms allow state cooperation with religious groups without triggering constitutional concerns. This memo summarizes the laws and highlights the restrictions that religious organizations should keep in mind. 7 pages. Coordinates with ‘A Model Benevolence Program’, NP9507-1.

Christian Conciliation: Conciliate, Don’t Litigate (NP9101-6)
This is a Biblically-based form of alternative dispute resolution that offers reconciliation without litigation. Here is a comprehensive overview of the process, including sample conciliation clauses for contracts. 12 pages. Coordinates with ‘Alternate Dispute Resolution: Arbitrate Don’t Litigate’, NP9510-1, described in the Legal Liabilities Section.

Church Audit Procedures Act: Know Your Rights (NP9203-1)
This law provides tight controls on when and how the IRS may examine records and documents of churches for tax purposes. Understand how it applies to your religious organization with this summary of its critical points. (5 pages).

Clergy Confidentiality: When, What & to Whom Do I Speak? (NP9201-1)
The role of clergy as advisers and confidants increasingly leads them to another role: that of defendants when sued for disclosing information or for remaining silent. The relationship between the law and the church in this context is often misunderstood. This memo offers educational and informative help. (6 pages).

Hiring & Firing: Rights of Religious Employers (NP9103-1)
Federal law generally prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of religion, but two important exceptions exist for religious organizations. This memo discusses both exceptions in an easy-to-understand question and answer format. The memo includes a sample statement of faith suitable for adaptation to any organization. (9 pages).

Incorporating Churches in Virginia (NP0301-1)
Critical points to consider when incorporating your church in Virginia, including the requirements, tax exemption status and insurance premiums. Also covers the downside and drawbacks to incorporating. (8 pages).

Legal Hot Spots for Churches (NP9612-1)
Why must churches think and act preventively about lawsuits. Various topics such as gifts, tax exemption, liability, discipline, employment issues and many other points are covered in this memo. (40 pages).

Ministerial Housing Allowances: Assigning Ministers to Nonchurch Ministries (NP9102-4)
Can ministers who work for organizations that are neither churches nor church-controlled entities qualify for the housing allowance? This memo addresses an important exception to the housing allowance laws. (7 pages). Coordinates with ‘Ministerial Housing Allowances’, NP9101-5.

Ministerial Housing Allowances: Qualifying and Documenting (NP9101-5)
Ministers qualify for special housing allowances that equate to significant tax savings, but not all ministers are eligible. This memo discusses IRS requirements for eligibility and how to apply them to your situation. (9 pages). Coordinates with ‘Church Assignment of Ordained Ministers to Nonchurch Ministries’, NP9102-4.

Qualifying as a Church Under IRS Criteria (NP9109-5)
The tax laws provide numerous benefits to those organizations that qualify as churches under IRS regulations. This memo discusses the IRS’s criteria for determining church status. (5 pages).

Religious Colleges’ Participation in Tax-Exempt Financing Programs (NP9701-2)
Increased financing opportunities are becoming available for religiously affiliated colleges through state and local government programs. Various Supreme Court rulings have helped pave the way. Here’s a summary of the guidelines you should know to get started. (13 pages).

Religious Order Status: Tax-Exempt Harbor (NP9207-2)
This memo describes recent developments in IRS views toward religious order status, trends in current IRS rulings, benefits of religious order status, and procedures for acquiring religious order status. (6 pages).

Risk Management for Churches A Self-Directed Audit (NP9501-1)
A risk management audit involves three steps: examination, diagnosis and treatment. This survey tool can help churches make a broad assessment of their potential risks following these three steps. (24 pages).

Zoning & Land Use Issues for Religious Groups (NP9411-1)
Federal laws limit the power of state and local governments to regulate land use. This comprehensive memo discusses the application of such limits to religious uses of property and offers guidance in dealing with arbitrary land use decisions. (18 pages).

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