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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Post Nonprofit Business Structure



    I am an ordained Minister curently traveling about teaching and preaching and providing conference and seminar speakings on ocassion. I have a small number of 3 people who make up my ministry support team.

    I am beginning to consider becoming "non-profit 501 c(3)" for the tax and other non-profit advantages. Looking to purchase property in which my ministry can operate; perhaps invest in some income-property as an addtional support to the ministry; and provide ministry books and media to expand the ministry and further support it.

    Since my ministry is a one-person ministry I wish to maintain complete authority over it in all aspects, especially concerning its' direction. I considered DBA (but no protection or tax advantages or non profit recongition); considered UNINCORPORATED NONPROFIT, (not legal in NYS); considered NONPROFIT LLC (not avail. in NYS, plus non nonprofit benefits).

    Is there a way for me to solidify a legitimate ministry business structure (hopefully "nonprofit" with related benefits) while eliminating my concern?

    Thank you very much for your suggestion(s).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Nonprofit Business Structure

    Your concern being that nobody else ever be able to take control of any aspect of your ministry? It may well be possible to create a 501(C)(3) ministry over which you have significant control, but you don't have ownership of a charitable organization in the same sense as you can own a private corporation. You also run the risk that you'll be deemed to be running the ministry for personal gain. Your best bet is to consult a business lawyer who advises religious groups on their organizational and tax concerns.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: Nonprofit Business Structure

    A church has absolutely no requirement to be a 501(c)(3) although many of them do. If you are a church then under the doctrine of separation of church and state you are automatically a charitable non-profit unless you do things that jeapardize that status. That would be things like taking political positions, etc. The ministry can pay you as much as it likes. You must report your income as a self-employed minister or as an employee of the church depending on the circumstances. Those who work for you must be issued a W-2 for work they perform as employees of the church. A church cannot be required to participate in the social security and medicare systems, but then the workers (including you) will pay the self-employment tax on the income. The church can use its other funds as it sees fit to further its religious purpose. If it provides you a housing or parsonage allowance, that will be subject to self-employement tax but not income tax.

    You really do need to consult a tax professional. And if you decide to form the non-profit corporation then you should get a lawyer as well. Make sure you review the IRS requirements for maintaining your charitable organization status either way.

    You should be able to set up the organization so that you retain control over its direction. I think it's safe to say that Billy Graham maintained control over his ministry, which he has now passed to his son Franklin. Your lawyer can advise you on how to accomplish this. Lawyers are not necessarily tax experts, but some are.

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