How Political Activities May Affect Tax-Exempt Status

Write a Review


For decades, American churches and pastors have operated with uncertainty about how much they can legally engage in political activities. Questions like, "What types of political activities and speech are allowed under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code?" especially arise during election years. 

This downloadable resource helps address questions like this and more. It provides politically related scenarios, then explains the potential impact of each scenario on the church's tax-exempt status based upon guidance from the US Constitution, Internal Revenue Service publications, and court rulings.

Pastors and church leaders will learn more about what is--or isn't--permissible under the Internal Revenue Code, including:

  • Contributions to political candidates
  • Public statements supporting or opposing political candidates

  • Sermons preaching about politically sensitive topics

  • Candidate debates hosted by a church

  • Voter registration drives

  • Voter guides

  • Church websites providing campaign information

  • Lobbying efforts supporting or opposing ballot initiatives or legislative bills proposed at the local, state, or federal levels

  • and more

Use this resource to help guide plans and ideas considered by your church. Then, for a more detailed discussion about political activities and the church, visit Church Law & Tax's Recommended Reading page, “Churches and Political Activities,” as well as Richard R. Hammar’s annual Church & Clergy Tax Guide.

View AllClose

Additional Information

View AllClose