501c3 Part 6: Finishing Touches
***Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. This post doesn’t constitute legal advice our counsel. I’m simply sharing with you my past experience. It is always advisable to consult a lawyer when working on legal paperwork for a church.
Now that you you’ve finished filling out the application for the 501c3 it’s time to put it all together, double check your work and send it in. The IRS includes a checklist as a part of form 1023. Though it is the last thing on the form, the instructions actually say to include it as the very first pages of the application. So make sure that when you print it out, you move the checklist to the very front of the stack. The first thing on the checklist is an order for assembling the application. Here’s a quick rundown filtering out the pieces that don’t apply to you:
- Form 1023 Checklist
- Form 1023. This is the application itself. Be sure to include Schedule A, but you can toss all the remaining schedules.
- Articles of Incorporation. I usually call this attachment A and reference it as such throughout the continuation sheets (answers to all the questions from the application). Also include any Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation in chronilogical order
- Bylaws. I usually call this attachment B and reference it as such throughout the continuation sheets.
- Continuation Sheets. This is the answers to all the questions from the application. I usually call this attachment C. Be sure that in the header for the continuation sheets you have included the name of the church and the EIN number. That is required to be on the top of every page in the application.
- Copies of Church Literature. Form 1023 asks for copies of church literature. Include bulletins, informational brochures, etc. I include these as attachment D.
Next be sure that you have included payment for the application. The currently application rate is $850. Currently the application states that the fee is $750. The application is wrong and needs updated by the IRS. I learned this hard way by sending in the $750 the application asks for and had the IRS request the additional $100. The check should be made out to the United States Treasury. The instructions state to place the check in an envelope and not to staple or otherwise attached the check to the application.
You will also want to ensure that you have signed and dated on page 12 of the application. Because of how the form is set up, it’s easy to make a mistake and sign on page 11. That section is only needed if you are requesting an advanced ruling.
I also recommend putting the entire application in a report cover. It’s obviously optional, but creates a good impression and makes it easier for the IRS agent to handle. By putting things in the proper order and following the little details, you are much more likely to make it an easy and relaxing experience for the IRS to review your application.
Finally, mail the entire package to:
Internal Revenue Service
PO Box 12192
Covington, KY 41012-0192
Congratulations, you’ve finished the most difficult part of the legal process in establishing a new church. You should here from the IRS in a few weeks that they have received the application and then will get an answer typically in three to six months. The IRS, may have additional questions that they ask. Don’t sweat it. Take your time and answer their questions honestly and you’ll be ok. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.