Business Law Applied to Religious Organizations and Non-Profit Corporations
In its representation of religious organizations, the firm has represented the national organization, the congregation, and the ministers or trustees, both Christian and non-Christian, e.g., Buddhists.
The firm’s focus is business, but the business issues overlap with constitutional principles.
Recent topics of representation include:
A Church: What is it? How is it defined?
- The IRS requirements
Business and Contract law: The increasing application of “neutral,” i.e., non-religious principles of contract and property law.
Property: Property issues including:
- the use and sale of church property,
- authority to sell – who decides, the minister, the congregation or the national organization? What if the property is donated in trust; does that changes the rules?
- zoning and land use
Business and Religious Procedure: The interplay between corporate and religious procedure; which has priority and when.
Taxes: Tax issues including:
- the 501(c)(3) exemption and its limits
- related and unrelated business income, sales tax, and income tax,
- audits versus privilege,
- the treatment of subordinate organizations,
Employment: Employment law issues, including:
- ministers as a hybrid of employee and self-employed contractor
- the application of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FSLA). Minimum wage and overtime law as applied to religious organizations. Exempt?
- the application of age and anti-discrimination law to religious organizations,
- right to prefer adherents to the religion in hiring,
State Law: The approach and treatment by various states of the above, and other, issues.