Friday, May 24, 2024

How To Incorporate A Church In New York

Apply For State Tax Exemption

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With your IRS Determination Letter in hand, make sure you familiarize yourself with your states requirements for recognizing your nonprofits tax-exempt status. This is an area where requirements vary state-by-state. Many states issue their own tax-exempt certificate that can be used for sales and use tax purposes, but it may require application and periodic renewal.

To file to obtain exemption from state income tax:

Agency: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

Certain not-for-profit and religious corporations are exempt from the New York State corporation franchise tax. You must file Form CT-247 to apply for exemption.

To file to obtain Sales Tax Exemption:

Agency: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
Agency Fee:

Nonprofits can apply for exemption from NYS property taxes through the Office of Real Property Tax Service.

Overseen by:
Exemption Administration Manual – Nonprofit Organizations and Exemption Administration Manual – Nonprofit Organizations
Form: Property tax exemption forms listing. Start with RP-420-a-Org, RP-420-a/b-Use, or RP-420-a/b-Vlg and attach supplemental forms as required.
Filing Method:
Fee: $0

Nonprofits in New York City may apply for property tax exemption with the New York City Department of Finance..

Versions In Languages Other Than English

A corporation may have in its articles, a special provision permitting it to set out its name in any language and the corporation may be legally designated by that name ). This would allow the corporation to legally use a foreign version of its corporate name for the purposes of conducting business. However, the foreign version would not be entered into the Branchs electronic database and, therefore, would not appear on a Certificate of Status produced in respect of the corporation name. Despite subsection , a corporation shall set out its name in legible characters in all contracts, invoices, negotiable instruments and orders for goods or services issued or made by or on behalf of the corporation and in all documents sent to the Director under this Act ).

Church Of The Epiphany

The Church of the Epiphany

The Church of the Epiphany is a parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at 373 Second Avenue at the corner of East 22nd Street, in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It operates a co-educational PreK8Catholic school and Religious Education program.

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Treatment Of How Church Property Is Handled Under Civil Law


But in the meanwhile, it appears to have been recognized that the holding of church property in the name of the bishop, under the rules of canon law, was fraught with some dangers and inconveniences. In 1855 the New York legislature had passed a law providing that no interest in property, real or personal, should be conveyable or descendible to any ecclesiastic or his successor in any ecclesiastical office. There was similar legislation in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Such legislation, with the waning of the anti-Catholic spirit which had fostered it, was soon repealed but in 1863, a measure for the incorporation of Catholic church property, drawn by the eminent lawyer, Charles OConor, at the request of Archbishop Hughes, was enacted by the New York legislature. This measure may be regarded as another deviation in the policy of the hierarchy, away from the plan of vesting in fee simple the large temporalities of great dioceses in one man, even though subject to the trusteeship prescribed in the canon law, and a return to some of the features of lay trusteeship, limited and safeguarded however by the rules of ecclesiastical discipline.





New York State Religious Corporation Law

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As we mentioned, the actions you take to form a religious corporation are pursuant to the New York State Religious Corporation Law. There are specific guidelines you must follow to qualify for and maintain religious corporation status.

The best way to ensure that youre compliant is to work with a real estate attorney who also practices in the area of Religious Corporation Law as your partner as they understand the nuances of New York State Religious Corporation Law and can advise you thereon.

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Recruit Incorporators And Initial Directors

The incorporator is the person who signs the Articles of Incorporation for your nonprofit. You will need at least one, but can have more than one. Directors make up the governing body of your nonprofit corporation and are stakeholders in your organizations purpose and success. Youll want to identify three, unrelated individuals to meet IRS requirements. You will also want to be aware of any age or residency requirements.

New York director requirements:
  • Qualifications: 18 years of age . No residency requirement. No membership requirement.
  • Term: 1 year unless otherwise specified in the articles or bylaws, 5 year maximum
  • Quorum: majority
    • A president, one or more vice-presidents, a secretary and a treasurer.
    • Term: 1 year
    • Two or more offices may be held by the same individual, except for president and secretary.

    Establish Initial Governing Documents And Policies

    Your are the governing document for your nonprofit. They serve as your organizations operating manual and should be consistent with your articles of incorporation and the law. When your Board of Directors meets for the first time, youll review and ratify the bylaws and they will be a roadmap for governance from there.

    At the same time, youll also want to create and adopt a conflict of interest policy. A conflict of interest is when someone in a key position in your nonprofit has competing interests and is making choices that could benefit themselves to the harm of the organization. Personal interests should be set aside and organizational interests prioritized. If a conflict of interest does arise, it should be disclosed immediately.

    Your application to the IRS for 501 exemption will require that both the bylaws and the conflict of interest policy are approved and adopted. Once theyve been adopted, safely store them in your Nonprofit Records Kit.

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    Properly Sign Legal Documents

    Improperly signing a document as yourself and not as a representative of the business can leave you open to personal liability.When signing legal documents on behalf of your nonprofit, you could follow this formula to avoid problems:

  • Formal name of your organization
  • Your signature
  • Your position in the business as its authorized representative
  • See the image below for an example:

    This ensures that you are signing on behalf of your nonprofit and not as yourself.

    New York Charitable Organization Registration

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    Agency: New York Attorney General – Charities Bureau

    New York Executive Law, Article 7a, §§ 171-a to 177, Not-For-Profit Corporation Law § 101 et seq.

    Two NY statutes separately require charitable registration:

  • Article 7-A of the Executive Law requires registration of charitable and other nonprofit organizations that solicit contributions from New York State .
  • EPTL: Section 8-1.4 of the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law requires registration of charitable organizations that are incorporated, are formed or otherwise conduct activity in New York State.
  • Every contract entered into with a professional fund raiser, fund raising counsel, or commercial co-venturer must contain, in a conspicuous typeface:

  • A concise, accurate statement of the charitable organization’s right to cancel
  • A concise, accurate statement of the period during which the contract may be canceled
  • The address to which the notice of cancellation is to be sent
  • The address of the attorney general to which a duplicate of the notice of cancellation is to be sent and
  • A clear statement of the financial arrangement including, if applicable, a statement of the percentage of the total funds collected on behalf of the charitable organization which shall be paid to the professional fund raiser or any other person for purposes other than the exclusive benefit of the charitable organization.
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    History Of Ascensions Grand Pipe Organ

    “Pipe Organs of NYC is being presented as a weekly series by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, taking viewers on a virtual musical tour of the grand instruments of the Chapter. Ascensions history, our own Muller-Abel instrument and Preston Smith were featured in Episode 7, aired 22 February. Please watch here: Ascensions Grand Organ on YouTube

    How To Retain Your Non

    After forming your New York not for profit organization, be sure to follow specific guidelines to retain your non-profit status.

    • Keep detailed records of all sources of income.
    • File annual reports.
    • Keep unrelated activities separate from your non-profit and pay separate taxes on them. This income could jeopardize your nonprofit status if it makes up a substantial portion of your business.
    • Ensure that the time and resources spent on your non-profit are related to your organization’s exempt status.
    • Maintain detailed records of corporate meetings.
    • Make sure your non-profit’s assets are distributed to another tax-exempt group when and if it dissolves.
    • Do not make loans to any of your directors or officers.
    • Do not issue shares of stock or pay dividends or other shares of income to members, directors or officers.

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    Recruit Incorporator And Initial Directors

    Next, youll need to build your inaugural Board of Directors, which is the governing body of your organization. Youll want to bring together a group of people with diverse experiences and viewpoints who can speak to your field, the work youre looking to do, and the community youre serving.

    In NY you need at least three directors over eighteen . There is no residency or membership requirement, and they can serve a term of one to five years. Each committee needs at least three directors.

    The incorporator is the person who will sign and deliver your nonprofits Articles of Incorporation. This is a short-term role and can be filled by anyone, it can even be more than one person.

    Choose A Name For Your New York Nonprofit Corporation

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    The name of your nonprofit corporation must be distinguishable from the name of any other corporation, limited liability company, or limited partnership already on file with the Department of State. To see if your proposed name is available, you can search the New York business name database on the Division of Corporation’s website. You may reserve a name for 60 days by filing an Application for Reservation of of Name with the New York Department of State. The application must be filed by mail. There is a $10 filing fee.

    In New York, the name of a nonprofit must contain one of the following words : “Incorporated,” “Corporation,” or “Limited,” or one of the following abbreviations: “Inc.,” “Corp.,” or “Ltd.” You cannot use certain words and phrases in your nonprofit’s name and others may be used only with written approval from the appropriate state agency.

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    Choose A Nonprofit Corporation Structure

    At this point, youll need to confirm what your nonprofit corporation structure is going to be. NYS defines nonprofit corporations as two basic structures: religious and non-religious.

    If your nonprofits purpose is to allow members to meet for divine worship or religious observations, then you can file as religious. Every other purpose must be filed as non-religious, and as Type A, B, C, or D. If your organization falls into multiple types, you will file as the latter type meaning if youre both Type A and B, you will file as Type B, etc. The Types are classified as:

    • A: Your non-business purposes are civic, patriotic, political, social, fraternal, athletic, agricultural, horticultural, animal husbandry, and for a professional, commercial, industrial, trade or service association.
    • B: Your non-business purposes are charitable, educational, religious, scientific, literary, cultural or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
    • C: Your business purposes serve a public or quasi-public objective.
    • Please note that when you file the Certificate of Incorporation for this type, you need to include a statement identifying the public or quasi-public objectives for each business purpose youll pursue.
    • D: Your organization conducts any business or non-business not otherwise outlined above, regardless of whether you also fall under A, B, or C.

    If you have any questions or confusion over terms or designations, you can review section 102.

    Name Your New York Nonprofit

    Choosing a name for your organization is the first and most important step in starting your nonprofit corporation. Be sure to choose a name that complies with New York naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential members and donors.

    1. Follow the naming guidelines:

    • Include some kind of organizational designation, such as Incorporated, Inc., Ltd., or Company
    • Not be deceptive in any way or indicate your organization was designed for any purpose other than what is stated in your Certificate of Incorporation
    • Not include words or phrases that could lead the public to believe your organization is acting as an agent of the United States or the State of New York
    • Not include any of these words or phrases:
    • doctor or lawyer
    • union, labor, council, industrial organization
    • blind or handicapped
    • exchange
    • school, education, elementary, secondary, kindergarten, prekindergarten, preschool, nursery school, museum, history, historical, historical society, arboretum, library, college, university, or other restricted terms
  • In addition, your nonprofits name cannot use words or phrases that are considered obscene or ridiculing any person, group, belief, etc. or indicate that your group will engage in unlawful activity.
  • Access the New York State Senate’s official guidelines for more information about naming a nonprofit in New York.

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    Considerations For Starting A Non


    • Incorporating protects your personal assets from your non-profit’s lawsuits and creditor claims. It also protects your trustees, officers and volunteers.
    • New York non-profits are usually exempt from federal tax on any income that’s related to your organization’s exempt purposes.
    • You can obtain an exemption from collecting sales and use taxes if your organization is formed under IRS Section 501.
    • Your non-profit may qualify to receive public and private grant money.


    • Because your non-profit is not owned by you or your shareholders, you won’t have individual control and autonomy over your organization.
    • More paperwork is involved, such as creating bylaws and recording and maintaining corporate minutes.
    • You’ll need time and money to apply for the federal tax exemption, and you’ll need an accountant or legal professional to help you operate your non-profit.
    • Your non-profit’s finances are subject to public inspection.

    Adopt Bylaws & Conflict Of Interest Policy

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    To be eligible to apply for 501 status, your nonprofit is required to have the following two documents:

  • Conflict of interest policy.
  • What are Bylaws? Bylaws are the rules outlining the operating procedures of the nonprofit.

    What is a Conflict of Interest Policy? A Conflict of Interest Policy is the collection of rules put in place to ensure that any decisions made by the board of directors or the officers benefits the nonprofit and not individual members.

    NOTE: The bylaws and conflict of interest policy must be adopted by the nonprofit during its first organizational meeting where the directors and officers are officially appointed.

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    The Articles Of Incorporation

    Note:These are Sample Articles of Incorporation. Articles of Incorporation define the legal and financial structure of a business entity. This process is undertaken in order to become an official legally recognized corporation. Businesses incorporate to protect themselves and their employees from legal action or to receive tax incentives and bidding opportunities. This is true for both profit and non-profit organizations. You are free to use this document as a framework in creating your own Articles of Incorporation but note that each state has its own requirements for filing articles of incorporation. You need to review the appropriate State requirements and incorporation documents, which can be found and downloaded at no charge, on each State’s Secretary of State website under their Corporations section of doing business.


    The name of the corporation is __________________________, Inc., Doing Business As ____________________________


    The Corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious and religious-educational purposes, including for in-kind purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code which governs non-profit corporations.



    The Directors shall be elected by a majority vote of the Members of this Corporation as defined by process in the Bylaws of the corporation.

    Choose Your Organization Type

    Before proceeding further, you must decide what kind of corporate structure your organization will have and obtain any approvals you might need. You will need to choose from the following options:

  • Religious Corporation – there are distinct rules and regulations that are applicable to religious corporations operating in New York. Access further information about starting a religious organization in New York in the Consolidated Laws of New York.
  • Nonreligious Corporation
  • Consent or Approval Required – If your nonprofits purpose is related to any of the following in the graph below, you must obtain approval from the appropriate governing body. This approval must accompany your Certificate of Incorporation application.
  • Organization’s Purpose
    Superintendent of Financial Services

    Read full descriptions of each of these categories in Section 404 of the New York State Senates requirements for nonprofit corporations

    No Consent or Approval Required – if your nonprofit does not fall into one of these categories, you do not have to submit additional approval information with your Certificate of Incorporation application.

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