14 Points which the IRS utilizes to assist the agency in determining the classification of an organization as a Church.
- Distinct legal existence
- Recognized creed and form of worship
- Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government
- Formal code of doctrine and discipline
- Distinct religious history
- Membership not associated with any other church or denomination
- Organization of ordained ministers
- Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of studies
- The literature of its own
- Established places of worship
- Regular congregations
- Regular religious services
- Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young
- Schools for the preparation of its ministers
Note: The IRS may or may not classified a religious organization as a church depending on the number of points they have or may have in the future, may still be classified by the IRS as tax-exempt “religious organization.”
All organizations classified in this category must practice the declared belief and statements and conduct the business in accepted accounting ethics. With changes in the organization’s practices and purpose, this classification may also change. Tax-exempt status can be revoked for cause.
The only difference between a church and a religious organization is that the religious organization would be required to file an informational return each year showing the amount of income and the expenditure of the said income, while a church would not be required to file a return disclosing its income or expenditures, Although, it may have to file and pay taxes upon unrelated business income.
As your conscience dictates; if your congregation is not following these rules then you have to answer your conscience. The Holy Spirit is with us and will guide us to make decisions just do not ignore.