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The Navigators Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Focus on the Family Gideons International Ethnos360/New Tribes Mission Voice of the Martyrs Campus Crusaders “Cru” Precept Ministries World Vision Liberty Counsel Family Research Council American Family Association

The Navigators, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Gideons International, Ethnos360/New Tribes Mission, Voice of the Martyrs, Campus Crusaders “Cru”, Precept Ministries, World Vision, Liberty Counsel, Family Research Council, and American Family Association

are all classified as 'churches' or 'association of churches' with the IRS?

Large, Well-Known Religious Organizations Have Been Reclassifying for Decades

The Navigators was founded in 1933 and later reclassified with the IRS as a church in 2005. In similar fashion, and after operating for almost 40 years as a religious organization, Focus on the Family reclassified as a church in 2016. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reclassified as an “association of churches” in 2015 after 66 years operating as a religious organization and the Family Research Council bravely followed suit in 2020 to reclassify as an “association of churches” after operating as a religious organization since 1983.

The common question we get is, "How is that possible and why would these well-known religious organizations want to be churches?"

Focus on the Family’s primary reason was to protect the confidentiality of their donors. Family Research Council wanted to operate according to their biblical faith as an organization which was not possible in today’s political and religious climate. The process of reclassification is complex depending on which approach an organization takes and can require direct communication with and approval from the IRS. However, The 508 Company makes the process easy.

What's the Difference Between a Religious Organization and a Church?

“Because special tax rules apply to churches, it’s important to distinguish churches from other religious organizations. Therefore, when the IRS uses the term “religious organizations,” it isn’t referring to churches or integrated auxiliaries of churches.” 

Internal Revenue Service, Publication 1828 (Rev. 8-2015), Catalog Number 21096G Department of the Treasury

What's a 508?

A 508 is a special type of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that does not have to report its income or activities to the IRS by filing annual tax returns and still enjoys the many exemptions in the federal tax code that apply only to churches or associations of churches. Section 508(c)(1)(A) was written into the tax code in 1969. Basically, a 508 is a church.

Government Restrictions on Religion Are Increasing Worldwide

According to Pew Research Center, Government restrictions on religion have increased worldwide between 2007 and 2017 in all four categories studied: 1) favoritism of religious groups, 2) general laws and policies restricting religious freedom, 3) harassment of religious groups, and 4) limits on religious activity. Furthermore, some of the biggest increases in religious restrictions over the past decade have occurred in Europe where their average score measuring government limits on religious activity has doubled, and its score in the government harassment of religious groups category has gone up by about 70%.

More United States Restrictions on Religion Coming

As recently as June 2021, the IRS denied tax-exempt status from a religious organization (Christians Engaged) in Texas and stated, “Bible teachings” are “affiliated with the Republican party.” On August 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, authorizing $80 billion in funding for the IRS over the next 10 years, including $45.6 billion for enforcement activities. On December 8, 2022 Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act which put the tax-exempt status of hundreds of religious organizations who believe in the Biblical definition of marriage at risk.

What many organizations don’t know is that reclassifying to a church offers them legal protection, tax exemptions, and religious freedom.

Ready to start your journey and enjoy the same freedom and benefits of former religious organizations like Focus on the Family?

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“The I.R.S. examined 1.4 million individual income tax returns in 2010, about 1 percent of the total number filed. In 2018, the latest year with available data when Republicans started making these claims, audits decreased to 370,000, or about 0.2 percent… The budget office estimated increasing I.R.S. funding would return enforcement to its 2010 levels. Doing so would result in about 1.2 million more audits; of those, 583,000 would target people making less than $75,000.”

The New York Times, “Fact-Checking the Misleading Claim About 87,000 Tax Agents”, November 6, 2022

“…For example, you educate believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Specifically, you educate Christians on what the bible says in areas where they can be instrumental including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations. The bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”

Stephen A. Martin, IRS Director, Exempt Organizations, Rulings and Agreements

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Your contribution helps a church or religious organizations take back their First Amendment religious rights, operate according to their Biblical faith, and protect the privacy of their donors.