Benefits of 501c3 Nonprofit Incorporation
1. Tax-deductibility of your own expenses 2. Tax-deductibility for other people's contributions to your mission, ministry or church 3. You can solicit contributions (your donors will sense a greater accountability on your part). 4. Legitimacy (you will feel a greater need for accountability of funds and assets). 5. Greater focus for your vision 6. Lower postage rates 7. Free radio and TV ads 8. Limited liability 9. Unlimited existence 10. Wise stewardship which allows you and your donors maximum use of God-given resources. Some Biblical Reasons: Mark 12:14-17 They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him. (NIV) In the case of the 501c3 Status, Caesar is actually giving Christian ministers, churches and ministries a tax break as long as we adhere to the laws that govern the non-profit organizations or corporations. Since 501c3 Nonprofit Tax-Exempt Status for Churches deal mainly with paying of taxes, tax breaks for non-profit corporations and how religious organizations should administrate government currency ("what is Caesar's") - should we as churches and ministries follow and honor the laws of our nation that govern these things? Let the scriptures answer that question: Rom 13:1-7 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (NIV) Jesus paid his taxes, honored the ruling Roman and Jewish Governments and taught His disciples to do so. Matt 17:24-27 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the twodrachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?" "Yes, he does," he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes-- from their own sons or from others?" "From others," Peter answered. "Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." (NIV)
Most us are also aware that if and when our government becomes tyrannical and begins to use the 501c3 tax-exempt status as a weapon against a particular church, ministry or minister to control or persecute them or silence them from boldly proclaiming the gospel or other areas of truth relevant to the gospel and the righteous principles of God's word, then and only then should that church, ministry or minister rebel and no longer give the respect and honor due to the government. Acts 4:17-20 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name." Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." (NIV) History records that the Apostles Peter and Paul (1) continued to boldly preach the Gospel of Jesus and boldly speak the Truth, (2) they also continue to respect and honor the government as much as they could without compromising the Truth. They taught the churches these same two principles by precept and by example. They both gave their lives for preaching the truth of the gospel at the hands of the tyrannical governments which they respected and honored. If the government should decide to revoke your 501c3 Tax-Exempt Status for preaching the Gospel and telling the Truth you should gladly suffer it for Christ Names' sake and keep preaching the Gospel even in the face of loss of benefits, imprisonment or death. You should never compromise preaching the Gospel or the Truth to maintain government benefits or to avoid persecution - be faithful unto death. But, until the 501c3 Tax Exemption becomes a hazard to your ministry and you actually have to face this situation you should be "as wise as serpent and as harmless as a dove" by maximizing the stewardship of your resources and by taking full advantage of your 501c3 tax breaks and benefits.