F.A.C.T.Net (Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network) is a non-profit news source, referral service, and archive.
* To see the I.R.S. Document 501(c)(3) that accords FACTNet its status as a non-profit organization Please Click Here
* Click Here to see FACTNet's verification of tax-exempt status on IRS stationery (PDF).
The following paragraphs are extracts from 501(c)(3) :
"To be tax-exempt as an organization described in § 501(c)(3) of the Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for one or more of the purposes set forth in § 501(c)(3) and none of the earnings of the organization may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates."
"The exempt purposes set forth in § 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening of neighborhood tensions; elimination of prejudice and discrimination; defense of human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency."
"The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator's family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a § 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization. If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any managers agreeing to the transaction."
We urge you to bear all of the above in mind when assessing the validity of any sect's, cult's or religious group's tax-exempt status and whether or not they are transgressing the letter of the Law.
We also urge you to read the following extract from the IRS definition of Religious Belief :
At http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/plain/bus_info/tax_pro/irm-part/part07/36070a.html#ss51 we find the following statement:
The term "religious" as used in IRC 501(c)(3) is not subject to precise definition. The leading interpretation of the term was made by the Supreme Court in United States v. Seeger , 380 U.S. 163 (1965), in which the Court interpreted the phrase "religious training and belief" as used in the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 50 U.S.C. section 456 (j), in determining an individual's eligibility for exemption from military service on religious grounds. The Court formulated the following definition: "A sincere and meaningful belief which occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those admittedly qualifying for the exemption comes within the statutory definition."
The Court elaborated upon the Seeger definition in Welsh v. United States , 398 U.S. 33 (1970), stating that "[i]f an individual deeply and sincerely holds beliefs that are purely ethical or moral in source and content but that nevertheless impose upon him a duty of conscience to refrain from participating in any war at any time, those beliefs certainly occupy in the life of that individual a place parallel to that filled by... God in the lives of traditionally religious persons." Thus, religious beliefs include many beliefs (for example, Taoism, Buddhism, and Secular Humanism) that do not posit the existence of a Supreme Being in the conventional sense."