PS Jack Powell is editor of the online neoliberal publication 1828
. He tweets @powelljack_.
According to Publication 1828, a church will be regarded as "attempting to influence legislation if it contacts or urges the public to contact members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting or opposing legislation or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of the legislation." However, the IRS list of activities that should not jeopardize tax-exempt status in Publication 1828 includes conducting educational meetings, preparing and distributing educational materials and considering public policy issues in an educational manner.
Publication 1828 cites certain activities that may not be prohibited, including voter education activities conducted in a nonpartisan manner, voter registration activities and get-out-the-vote drives.
IRS Publication 1828, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, uses an example that a minister may list his name among those endorsing a political candidate.
In another example, Publication 1828 indicates that a minister may endorse a candidate at a campaign in a personal capacity without disclaiming that his views are not those of his employer.
IRS Publication 1828, Tax Guide for Churches, broadly defines ministers as "members of clergy of all religions and denominations and includes priests, rabbis, imams and similar members of clergy." But, according to Treasury regulations section 1.1402(c)-5, in order to qualify for special tax treatment as clergy, an individual must be a "minister" performing services "in the exercise of his ministry" and a "duly on commissioned or licensed minister of a church." The services performed by a minister in the exercise of the ministry include the "ministration of sacerdotal functions," the "conduct of religious worship" and the "control, conduct and maintenance of religious organizations (including religious boards, societies and other church or church denomination)."
* Check out revised IRS Publication 1828, Tax Guide for Churches, for some limited guidance on who is a minister.