Church Law & Not-for-Profit Corporations

 In New York State, churches are incorporated under the Religious Corporations Law.  Para-church ministries and other charities are usually incorporated under the Not-for Profit Corporations Law.

Churches are exempt from most taxes, and contributions to churches are deductible on individual income tax returns.  Although it may sometimes be helpful for a church to apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status, the typical church is already exempt whether or not it is incorporated and whether or not it has filed an application.  Incorporation is necessary, however, if a church is to own real property.

Churches may occasionally encounter legal issues that require the advice or services of a lawyer.  Please feel free to call me if a question arises.