So you want to become a 10(c)(10): An Interview with Attorney Gene ...
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Today, the IRS appear complete about accessible abstracts on the over 105,000 organizations that were accustomed for tax-exemption appliance the automated appliance process, Anatomy 1023-EZ from its birth in July 2014 through December 2016.  From the IRS account release:

The abstracts on IRS.gov is accessible in spreadsheet architecture and includes advice for accustomed applications alpha in mid-2014, back the 1023-EZ anatomy was introduced, through 2016. The advice will be adapted quarterly, starting with the aboriginal analysis of agenda year 2017. The IRS’s Tax Absolved and Government Entities analysis accustomed added than 105,000 applications for absolution submitted on the Anatomy 1023-EZ from 2014 through 2016.

In reviewing the abstracts for these organizations, I acclaimed article odd — there was an alignment accustomed appliance the automated action which by its name appeared to be a church.  According to the Anatomy 1023-EZ instructions and Anatomy 1023-EZ accommodation worksheet, churches are not acceptable to use Anatomy 1023-EZ and instead charge use Anatomy 1023 to administer for a assurance letter from the IRS.  In particular, the accommodation worksheet states that if the appellant answers “yes” to any catechism on the worksheet, the appellant is not acceptable to use Anatomy 1023-EZ.  Catechism 12 on the worksheet asks, “Are you a abbey . . .?”  Applicants appliance Anatomy 1023-EZ charge adjure on the anatomy that the appellant has completed the accommodation worksheet and is acceptable to use the form. 

The Anatomy 1023-EZ is filed electronically and is composed of several self-certifying statements fabricated by the appellant to the aftereffect that the appellant qualifies for tax-exempt cachet as an alignment declared in Section 501(c)(3).  No acknowledging affidavit is appropriate to be submitted with the appliance so that the IRS can verify the applicant’s accomplishment for tax-exemption.  With over 105,000 organizations accustomed and no way to verify the information, I was not afraid that conceivably a few organizations not acceptable to book slipped through the cracks. 

However, I was analytical to see aloof how abounding churches afield acclimated Anatomy 1023-EZ to access an IRS assurance letter.  I conducted a chase of the names of all of the organizations accustomed for absolution appliance Anatomy 1023-EZ for the chat “church” appliance the new searchable abstracts appear by the IRS.  I begin 623 of the accustomed organizations had “church” in the name.  Upon afterpiece review, not all of these organizations appeared to be churches.  Some appeared to be a alone organized admiral of a abbey or a abbey foundation or an alignment in a boondocks called “Churchville.” But in my brief analysis of the names of these 623 organizations, I would appraisal that over 90% appeared to be churches.  Some of these organizations provided website addresses, and a appointment to these website addresses accepted these organizations operated as churches.  Even admitting churches are not acceptable to book Anatomy 1023-EZ, all of these organizations accurate that they had completed the accommodation worksheet and were acceptable to use Anatomy 1023-EZ.

Churches are not appropriate to book an appliance for absolution to be absolved as a abbey declared in Section 501(c)(3).  However, abounding churches opt to administer for absolution so that the abbey can accept an IRS assurance letter advertence that the abbey qualifies for exemption.  The IRS assurance letter serves as affirmation to donors that the abbey is accustomed as actuality tax-exempt and contributions fabricated to the abbey authorize for the accommodating addition deduction. 

The churches that accustomed an IRS assurance letter appliance the Anatomy 1023-EZ action may actual able-bodied accommodated the requirements for absolution as a abbey declared in Section 501(c)(3).  But the IRS absitively that it capital to booty a afterpiece attending at the applicants claiming to be churches, and appropriately requires them to use the accustomed Anatomy 1023 process.  By afield appliance the Anatomy 1023-EZ process, these churches accept gotten the account of voluntarily applying for tax absolution – the IRS assurance letter – after accepting to go through the analysis of the accustomed Anatomy 1023 appliance action as the IRS requires.

Additionally, this advice is but one archetype of the problems with the automated Anatomy 1023-EZ process.  A quick analysis of the organization’s name (for archetype “** Baptist Church” or “** Abbey of Christ”) should accept accustomed one abeyance about whether the alignment was acceptable to use Anatomy 1023-EZ.  This should accept resulted in an analysis to the alignment about whether it planned to accomplish as a church, or one could accept visited the organization’s website provided on the anatomy to see that the alignment had consistently appointed abbey casework and appeared to accomplish as a church.  The alignment again should accept been directed to administer appliance Anatomy 1023. All of these organizations accurate that they were acceptable to use Anatomy 1023-EZ, but a quick absolute analysis of this accession acceptable would accept apparent the accession to be apocryphal in a cogent cardinal of cases.  This is one baby archetype of the charge to apart verify the applicant’s statements fabricated on the Anatomy 1023-EZ, or organizations which do not accommodated the requirements for absolution or the accommodation requirements to use Anatomy 1023-EZ will afield be accustomed for exemption. 

For added examples of the charge for absolute analysis of the advice provided on Anatomy 1023-EZ, see the Taxpayer Advocate Service 2015 Report to Congress and the Taxpayer Advocate Service 2016 Report to Congress.

TLH

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2017/02/hundreds-of-churches-appear-to-receive-exemption-determinations-using-form-1023-ez.html

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