Instructions on how to answer the questions on the Form 1023 Schedule A
Schedule A of the Form 1023 is only for churches.
There is no single definition of the word “church” for tax purposes. When determining whether a section 501c3 religious organization is described as a church (described in section 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(i)), IRS will consider characteristics generally attributed to churches and the facts and circumstances of each organization applying for public charity classification as a “church.”
Although you don’t need to meet each of the above criteria to be classified as a church, you’re generally required to have a congregation or other religious membership group.
For purposes of foundation classification under section 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(i), the term “church” includes, without limitation, mosques, temples, and synagogues, and certain other forms of religious organizations.
- A recognized creed and form of worship,
- A definite and distinct ecclesiastical government,
- A formal code of doctrine and discipline,
- A distinct religious history,
- A membership not associated with any other church or denomination,
- Ordained ministers ministering to the congregation,
- Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study,
- A literature of its own,
- Established places of worship,
- Regular congregations,
- Regular religious services,
- Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young, and
- Schools for the preparation of
The practices and rituals associated with your religious beliefs or creed must not be illegal or contrary to public policy.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 1.
Describe your written creed, statement of faith, or summary of beliefs.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 2.
Your literature includes any writings about your beliefs, rules, or history.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 3.
A “code of doctrine and discipline” refers to a body of laws or rules that govern behavior.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 4.
A “religious hierarchy or ecclesiastical government” refers to people or institutions that exercise significant influence or authority over your church.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 5.
Answer “Yes,” if you’re part of a group of churches with similar beliefs and structures, such as a convention, association, or union of churches.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 6.
A “form of worship” refers to religious practices that express your devotion to your creed, faith, or beliefs.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 7.
Indicate the regular days and times of your religious services. Describe the order of events during your regular worship service and explain how the
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 7a.
Enter the average number of members and non-members who attend your regularly scheduled religious services.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 8.
An “established place of worship” is a place where you hold regularly scheduled religious services. It may be a place that you own, rent, or that is provided free for your use.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 9.
An “established congregation” or “other religious membership group” includes individuals who regularly attend and take part in the religious services of your organization at an established location. An established congregation generally doesn’t include members of only one family. If you answer “No,” because you don’t have an established congregation or other religious membership, you may be a religious organization that doesn’t qualify as a church. If you don’t qualify as a church, you will need to go back to Part VII, line 1, to reconsider your public charity classification.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 9a.
Enter the total number of your current members. If you have no members, enter zero (0).
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 9b.
Answer “Yes,” if you have a prescribed way to become a member. Answer “Yes,” even if you just keep records of who is currently a member. Describe any actions required for individuals to become members.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 9c.
Describe any rights and benefits of members. You should include details of any levels of membership and the rights and/or benefits associated with each level.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 9d.
If your members may be associated with another denomination or church, describe the circumstances in which your members would be members of your church and another church.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 9e.
See Appendix C for a description of the word “family.”
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 10.
Answer “Yes,” if you conduct baptisms, weddings, funerals, or other religious rites.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 11.
A school for the religious instruction of the young refers to any regularly scheduled religious, educational activities for youth.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 12.
A “prescribed course of study” refers to formal or informal training. It doesn’t include self-ordination or paying a fee for an ordination certificate without completing a course of study. Describe the course of study completed by your religious leaders.
Form 1023 Schedule A Line 15.
Provide any additional information you would like the IRS to consider that would help classify you as a church.
- Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation,
- Nonprofit Bylaws,
- Nonprofit Conflict of Interest Policy,
- Conflict of Interest Policy Acknowledgment,
- Form 1023 Attachment with all the answers,
- Form 1023 Expedite Letter template,
- and Donor Contribution Form
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