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View Legal Process for New Covenant Churches

Legal Process for New Covenant Churches

1.  File Articles of Incorporation with additional provisions for a 501 (c) (3).  See attached addendum which must accompany a church application for incorporation.
    •  The applications can be found at your state website under forms. 
    •  The document can be printed out, filled out and must be signed by pastor or a key leader in the church.  Make sure you have the necessary number of signatures for incorporation of a church in your state.
    •  Make sure that you fill out the Articles of Incorporation for non-profits when you choose which form to fill out.  You may have options for filing, but it is best if you file as a Non-profit.
    •  Make sure to include a copy of the following addendum (listed as Exhibit A) for churches to become incorporated. 
    •  The address listed for the registered agent (typically the pastor) must be a street address and cannot be a P.O. Box.
    •  Make sure to send the appropriate fee along with the application and mail it back to the Secretary of State’s office.
    •  If there is an issue with another business with the same name in the state you will be notified by someone from the Secretary of State’s office. 

2.  Apply for an EIN. 
    •  An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is like a Social Security number for a corporation.  You must have one to apply to the Covenant for inclusion under their 501 (c) (3) designation and to apply to open a bank account.
    •  The EIN can be applied for online at the Department of the Treasury website.  The form # is: SS-4 and it will take you only about 5 minutes to fill out the application.    
    •  The form is self-correcting so if you enter information you do not need to enter for a church it will tell you. 
    •  You will be issued an EIN number immediately at the completion of the online application. 
    •  You do not need to wait until your Articles of Incorporation are accepted by the state, but it is best if you wait to apply for your EIN until you have filed your Articles of Incorporation with the state.

3.  Apply to be included in the Covenant’s Group 501(c)(3)
    •  This has to happen AFTER you have applied for and received your EIN.
    •  See attached letter of application to the Covenant indicating the location for you to list your EIN.
    •  This letter gets sent to Rev. Donn Engebretson, the Vice President for Administration for the Evangelical Covenant Church at 5101 N. Francisco Ave.  Chicago, IL 60625. 
    •  You will receive a letter from the Covenant that states that your church is now included under the Covenant’s Group 501(c)(3) and a copy of the letter from the IRS to the Evangelical Covenant Church issuing the group 501(c)(3) to the denomination.

4.  Application for Sales Tax Exemption
    •  You must wait to do this until you have received back your Articles of Incorporation from the state.
    •  Check with your state’s Department of Revenue to see if anything extra is required in your state.  Typically all that is required is for the appropriate form to be filled out and sent back with a copy of the Evangelical Covenant Church Group 501(c)(3) Group exemption letter, a copy of the letter from the Vice President’s office listing your church as a church with status under the Covenant’s exemption, and a copy of your church’s Articles of Incorporation.

5.  Becoming a Withholding Agent
    •  If your church is going to have paid staff other than a solo pastor, or if your church is going to withhold taxes of a pastor as if they were an employee (the withholding is still based on the self employment taxes), your church will need to be set up as a withholding agent.
    •  To be set up as a withholding agent will require a phone call to your State Department of Revenue. 


Category:Development - Tools for Growth & Administrative Systems