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Nonprofit Law/Convert 501(c)3 Charity to Church


Hi Harvey,

I have had 501(c)3 public charity since 2008 but would like to convert to a church and just have the ministry under it. Is that possible and if so, what are the procedures and cost's involved. Thanks in advance for all your help.


There are several benefits for an organization to obtain the IRS determination letter that it is exempt as a church but it would need to have house of worship with regular meetings and a congregation of unrelated persons.  If it does have that, then it would be eligible, even though it has a substantial ministry operating.

The church would file with the IRS Form 8940 and, clicking through on "user fees" you will find a $400 fee is required.

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


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. 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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