Nonprofit Law/501c3 inactive


We are a California 501c3 religious organization.  We are currently going through a transition, we have to move from our currently facility and our Pastor is retiring. A future religious organization is possible but we'll need time to get it going for the future but we don't want to dissolve our current 501c3.  Can we go "inactive" without harming our 501c3 status?  Are there any formal filings required to do this?  THANK YOU

The IRS grants two types of 501(c)(3) organization status to religious organizations.  One is for churches and one is for other religious organizations.  It appears from what you wrote, that the organization received from the IRS determination letter that it is a church not required to file form 990 and that it has maintained that status with the IRS.

The IRS has published:
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Where an organization recognized as exempt becomes inactive for a period of time but retains identity as a corporation or association, its exemption letter need not be revoked. However, if the evidence (assuming any exists) clearly indicates that the organization never will resume operating for an exempt purpose, as required by Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(1), its exempt status should be revoked pursuant to Rev. Proc. 84-46, 1984-1 C.B. 541.
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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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