IRS Warns Churches About Political Activities, Tax-Exempt Status

WASHINGTON (June 1, 2012)--IRS regional manager Peter Lorenzetti told pastors attending the Faith Leaders Summit meeting in Washington that activities that could result in loss of tax-exempt status include endorsing or opposing candidates, campaigning for them or making contributions to their campaigns.

But pastors are free to do any of those things as private citizens, U.S> Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said.

"You simply cannot do it in your capacity as the pastor of the church and give the implication that the church is endorsing the candidate,” Butterfield, a former judge, said.

Lorenzetti said churches can distribute voter guides that educate about political issues without favoring a particular candidate.

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