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Nonprofit Law/Church membership fee


Can a religious organization under 501(c)3 require a membership fee for voting and inspection of records

I am assuming that the organization you are inquiring about is a California Religious Corporation.  If it is not, let me know what type of entity it is. starting at section 9110 is the  California Nonprofit Religious Corporation's law and, specifically, starting at section 9310 are the sections relating to memberships.

First we look at 9310, which provides:
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(a) A corporation may admit persons to membership, as provided in its articles or bylaws, or may provide in its articles or bylaws that it shall have no members. In the absence of any
provision in its articles or bylaws providing for members, a corporation shall have no members.
--- End of Excerpt ---

Therefore, we would need to look at the articles of incorporation to see if it states that it shall have no members and then, if it does not state that, then we would look to the articles of incorporation and bylaws to see what provisions are there for voting memberships and fees required.  

Neither the IRS nor the State of California prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from having voting memberships that have, as a requirement, the payment of a fee.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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