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Church & Not for Profit

 

Generally, non-profits and people operating non-profits must comply with all of the same laws which would apply to for-profit businesses. There are exceptions for taxes (noted above) and some exceptions related to First Amendment concerns.

Directors and officers of non-profits owe a fiduciary duty to the non-profit and its beneficiaries similar to the duties owed by directors and officers of for-profit corporations. Non-profits can have vicarious liability for injuries caused by their employees or volunteers to third parties, such as by traffic accidents.

For this reason it is prudent for any non-profit to obtain liability insurance. Non-profits which have paid staff must comply with minimum wage laws, and with the requirement in most states to obtain workers compensation insurance.

Churches and religious non-profits are something of a special case, because the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids the government making a law "respecting an establishment of religion" and also forbids "prohibiting the free exercise thereof [that is, of religion]."

The First Amendment originally bound only the U.S. Federal Government, but by incorporation through the 14th Amendment, also binds state and local governments. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act many generally applicable state laws regarding employment, zoning and the like are relaxed for churches.

Trump & Boutcher, LLP, advises our Not for Profit and Church clients based on years of legal experience that translates into sound legal doctrine. Please contact us if you have questions about setting up a charity, church or not for profit organization.

 

 

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