Did you know...
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%.