Nonprofit Law/501 C3


Hello Mr. Mechanic,

I have read some of your advise on the Non-Profit Advise website.

I am president of a 501 C3 in Kansas which is majorly involved in publishing, but also conducts Bible related Classes.

I have the opportunity to open a church need to know if it can operate under my present 501 C3?

If so, would I remain in control of the church, or would the "pastor" or "board" be in charge of it?

Do they operate under our Constitution and by Laws or under one of their own?

In the event that the church received funds, would I remain in control of the bank account opened with our present tax ID #?

If the church fails, and is dissolved, would the bank account remain under the control of the "parent" 501 C3 or the church pastor or board?

Thank you for your reply,
Beth Ann Hardin

I have in my profile that this free forum is only for general questions about IRS federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. Generally, I would recommend that a religious publishing company and a church be separate entities, for liability protection purposes, but the IRS does allow a non-church 501(c)(3) organization to add a church as one of its main activities.

If the church and the existing activities are all operated in and with the existing organization, then the control of both remains with the existing board, that I am assuming exists at this time.  If, however, the church is organized into a separate entity (nonprofit corporation or trust), then the control will depend upon the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the church, which would have its own articles of incorporation and bylaws.

If the church is run in the existing 501(c)(3) organization, then there is only one EIN (Employer Identification Number - or Taxpayer Id number), although they could have separate bank accounts. Otherwise, there would be two different EIN's and two different bank accounts.

If the church fails, whether it is a separate organization, its assets could go to the existing 501(c)(3) organization.  

Your drafting issues are beyond the general answers that I provide here and I would need to spend a substantial amount of time if you wanted me to do such work. If you want to hire me, send me an email directly to my email address below and I will quote you my fees.

Thank you for being my 14,000th answer in this forum.

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. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

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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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