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Religious Institutions Update: May 2016

Timely Topics - Has your nonprofit received a donation for a restricted purpose that has become impractical, impossible to achieve, wasteful or even unlawful? A donor may restrict a contribution to a charity for a...more

Religious Institutions Update: March 2016

Timely Topics - The death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will have an uncertain effect on religious institutions. Justice Scalia delivered the majority opinion in Employment Div. v. Smith, 494 U.S...more

Religious Institutions Update: January 2016

Timely Topics - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued on Dec. 17, 2015, a memorandum instructing its examiners not to conduct employment tax audits of churches without getting in touch with a high-ranking Treasury...more

Religious Institutions Update: December 2015

Captive insurance companies can be a win-win for organizations with excellent claim records that would rather accrue their insurance premiums than pay them to a third-party insurer. Put simply, captive insurers are insurance...more

Religious Institutions: October 2015

Timely Topics - A non-compete clause, covenant not to compete or restrictive covenant is a contract provision under which one party agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession, trade or business in competition...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

Religious Institutions: June 2015

Religious institutions commonly make payments to or receive payments directly or indirectly from governmental agencies for services rendered; e.g., day cares that benefit from public scholarships, hospitals that participate...more

Religious Institutions Update: May 2015

Religious institutions commonly keep ministry supporters and members abreast of developments through newsletters, correspondence and other communications. Sometimes, the developments reported are embarrassing to those...more

Religious Institutions Update: March 2015

Several interrelated legal developments make it more important than ever for religious institutions intending to qualify for exemptions to generally applicable laws to do the hard work before litigation or administrative...more

Religious Institutions Update: December 2014

Every year, religious institutions spend millions purchasing insurance of various types from insurance companies. Many will never make claims on the policies remotely equal to their annual investment in premiums. In these...more

Religious Institutions: October 2014

Timely Topics - Church splits and property disputes are not new, but they have certainly grown in number in recent years. In the seminal case on church property disputes, Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 679, 20 L....more

Religious Institutions: August 2014

If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had a moratorium on enforcing ยง501(c)(3) electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations, the IRS states that it has been lifted incident to the settlement and...more

Religious Institutions Update - Lex Est Sanctio Sancta

"Church plans" are pension plans (including defined benefit or defined contribution plans) exempt (without an irrevocable election) from many of the legal requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)...more

Religious Institutions Update - April 2014

Does a closely held for-profit corporation have a constitutionally or statutorily protected right to exercise religion under the Free Exercise Clause or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)? The U.S. Supreme...more

Religious Institutions - March 2014

Under state and federal law, "whistleblowers" are a protected class and a broader category of persons than intuitively you might guess. When we imagine the quintessential whistleblower, the individual is usually someone who...more

Religious Institutions - February 2014

Who owns the "church?" For most, this is an odd question. As children, many of us folded our hands and repeated a rhyme: "Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors and see the people." Nevertheless, for well...more

Religious Institutions Update - January 2014

On the heels of controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service's treatment of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, the Treasury Department is accepting comments on proposed regulations that will...more

Religious Institutions Update - December 2013

A federal district court has ruled unconstitutional one of the most important tax benefits available to ministers: the minister's housing allowance. A summary of the case follows. The ruling threatens to have a dramatic...more

Religious Institutions Update - November 2013

Diminished donations have led many faith-based organizations to become more creative about increasing revenue. Sometimes these organizations look beyond ordinary ministry functions to supplement income with unrelated...more

Religious Institutions Update: October 2013

The legitimacy of political speech from the pulpit is much debated. Some contend that religious institutions should be silent, because of separation of church and state or the inaccessibility of divine inspiration to...more

Religious Institutions Update: August/September 2013

On August 2, 2013, the White House's Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum instructing federal agencies to take steps to carry out President Obama's executive order (E.O. 13559 (Nov. 17, 2010)) adopting several...more

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