he IRS Internal Revenue Code section 508(c) sets out that churches are automatically recognized as tax-exempt under 501(c)(3), and the IRS does not require churches to apply for tax-exempt status if they meet the following criteria:
- The organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,
- The net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
- No substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
- The organization may not intervene in political campaigns, and
- The organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.
Additionally, some churches with a parent organization may be tax-exempt if the parent organization has a group ruling and it includes the specific church on its list of affiliated organizations.