Incorporation Status

By decision of the ruling elders, Douglas Church is not incorporated. We believe first and foremost that the church belongs to God, which he obtained with his own blood (Acts 20:28); and that the church is not to be governed, coerced, or overseen by any external governing body, authority or secular entity. As a church that is gathered in the United States, we are grateful that the governing officials of this land have taken extensive measures to ensure the freedoms and independence of Christian churches throughout this country.

Tax Exemption

Christian churches are automatically considered tax-exempt under section 508(c)(1)(a) and need not apply to be recognized under section 501(c)(3) as a "charitable organization". Money and property donated to Douglas Church is tax deductible.

Following references

The following laws, publications and quotes have been aggregated here for the convenience and reference for the members of Douglas Church, financial supporters of the church, as well as for the reference of other local assemblies that might benefit from being informed in regards to the laws and regulations of the United States relating to the church.


I am not the only IRS employee who’s wondered why churches go to the government and seek permission to be exempted from a tax they didn’t owe to begin with, and to seek a tax deductible status that they’ve always had anyway; Churches are in an amazingly unique position.
— Steve Nestor, IRS Sr. Revenue Officer (ret.)

First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


26 U.S. Code § 508(c)(1)(A)

Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations

(a) New organizations must notify Secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status Except as provided in subsection (c), an organization organized after October 9, 1969, shall not be treated as an organization described in section 501(c)(3)
...
(c) Exceptions

(1) Mandatory exceptions Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to

(A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, or
(B) any organization which is not a private foundation (as defined in section 509(a)) and the gross receipts of which in each taxable year are normally not more than $5,000.


IRS Publication 557

CHURCHES, INTEGRATED AUXILIARIES, AND CONVENTIONS OR ASSOCIATIONS OF CHURCHES

Churches (including integrated auxiliaries and conventions or associations of churches) that meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of exempt status from the IRS. Donors are allowed to claim a charitable deduction for donations to a church that meets the section 501(c)(3) requirements even though the church has neither sought nor received IRS recognition that it is tax exempt. In addition, because churches and certain other religious organizations are not required to file an annual return or notice with the IRS, they are not subject to automatic revocation of exemption for failure to file. See Annual Return Filing Exceptions for a complete list of organizations that are not required to file.


501(c)(3) requirements

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Exemption Purposes -

The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.


IRS Publication 1028 (Pg. 2)

Recognition of Tax-Exempt Status

Automatic Exemption for Churches

Churches that meet the requirements of IRC Section 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS.

P1028 Introduction: Congress has enacted special tax laws that apply to churches, religious organizations and ministers in recognition of their unique status in American society and of their rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Churches and religious organizations are generally exempt from income tax and receive other favorable treatment under the tax law; however, certain income of a church or religious organization may be subject to tax, such as income from an unrelated business.

IRS Publication 526

Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions

You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. Most organizations, other than churches and governments, must apply to the IRS to become a qualified organization.

Table 1 - Examples of Charitable Contributions

Money or property you give to:

Churches, synagogues, temples,
mosques, and other religious
organizations.