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Debunking 6 Myths About Churches’ 501(C)(3) Status

The First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses prevent the government from intruding into a church’s internal affairs. Tax exemption is an important extension of the First Amendment’s protection that helps guard churches against unnecessary government interference. Tax exemption keeps the government out of the internal affairs of churches and places an important check on the government’s power over them. After all, as Justice John Marshall once said, “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.” But there are some common myths about churches’ tax-exempt status, why it exists, and why it matters that should be addressed. These myths cause unnecessary confusion and concern about a tax policy that is actually beneficial for churches and good for society. At ADF Church Alliance, we want to help your church cut through the confusion about 501(c)(3) status so that your church can benefit from it as you seek to spread the Gospel in your community.

Here are six myths that we hear most often—followed by the facts...

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