If you have a question that is not answered here (or a comment) please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. How many people do I need on my ministry Board?
- Minimum of three who are 21 years of age, or older.
2. How many can be relatives?
3. How often does the Board need to meet?
4. A. Do I need a state business license? B. Do I need to register with the state?
- A. You do not need a business license for a 501(c)(3) in most states, but for sales or property tax exemption for ministry-owned property, and for fundraising projects, you will need to register with the state as a non-profit. Since each state is different, check with your state for requirements for fundraising.
B. Yes. 1. Many banks now require you to be registered with the state before you open a bank account. 2. When you register your ministry with the state, you protect your ministry name from being used by other ministries. Conversely, if someone else has already registered your preferred ministry name, you will need to change your name before registering.
5. Do I need to incorporate?
- This varies according to your needs and structure and is an individual ministry decision. Incorporation creates a new entity. If you have a lot of assets, you may want to incorporate to protect those assets. If you incorporate, most states require annual reports and fees. Check with your state's department of revenue for costs in your state.
There are "pro's and con's" to consider as you make this decision.
1. If your ministry will be working with children or have people attending event on your premises, incorporation may reduce personal liability and protect assets. If someone is injured on your ministry premises, your insurance will often be required to pay for medical cost and other damages.
2. Remember, most states require annual reports and fees. You will need to plan for the cost of renewing with the state each year. This may include legal fees for those unable to take the time to file the annual documents.
Check with your state's department of revenue for costs and requirements.
NOTE: Since each state's laws are different, TMCI recommends that you consult with legal counsel in your state to determine the best course of action.
6. Do I need ministry insurance?
- The kind of insurance needed depends on the nature of your ministry. Liability insurance may be a good idea to protect you and your family.
7. What, if any, are my IRS filing responsibilities?
- If your ministry receives less than $50,000 in income in a year, you must file a 990-N before May 15 each year; more than $50,000 must file a 990 EZ or 990. Churches with regularly scheduled services and missionary organizations that spend most of the revenue in foreign countries are not required to file. It may be advantageous to file even if your ministry is a church or missionary organization.
8. What titles/positions should be set up?
- President, secretary, and treasurer. One person can hold two offices, e. g. secretary and treasurer. However, you must have a minimum of three members on the board.
9. How do I change my Board members?
- You can change board members at any time by holding a board meeting (which can be done by phone or e-mail with the consent of the board members). Please notify TMCI of changes in board members.
10. Can I change my ministry name?
- YES. Changing your name will entail making changes with your bank and with the Federal and State governments. We recommend making name changes only after considering all the factors involved.
11. If I change my ministry name, do I receive a new group exemption letter (new EIN)?
12. How long does it take to make a name change?
- With TMCI the change is immediate and you can use it immediately. It may take up to eighteen months for the new name to appear on the IRS list of exempt organizations.
- HOW TO CHANGE A NAME: You must have a board meeting and formally vote to change the name. Then send us a copy of the signed resolution. NOTE: As stated above, it may take a year to eighteen months before the IRS has the new name in their records. There is nothing we can do to cause the IRS to change the name in less time.
13. My original tax and ministry letter are dated 2004. Is that OK or do I need a new one?
- You do not need a new letter if your EIN has not changed; however, if you are asked for an "up to date" determination letter, TMCI will write an up-to-date "good standing" letter for you.
14. How can I raise funds for my ministry?
- We strongly suggest that you establish a website and Facebook page for your ministry. Clearly state your ministry vision and needs. Additionally, we recommend a quarterly newsletter showing your vision and activities for the previous quarter. Send the newsletter to your relatives (even those distant cousins) to your doctor, dentist, insurance agent, auto mechanic, pastor, church missions committee, etc. - in short to everyone you know! Don't expect much response at first; many people will wait to give until they know that this is not a whim but a genuine ministry. Continue to send quarterly newsletters, using e-mail and regular mail. If you know Christian businessmen who would see the value of your ministry to the community, ask for an appointment and have your brochure and presentation prepared so that you can present your ministry in five minutes or less. You may be given more time but be prepared for the five-minute presentation. Bring materials about your ministry and a list of people who will give you good recommendations to the meeting and leave these with the businessman. If you do not get a support commitment at the first meeting, ask when you can contact him for a decision and call at that time, not before or after.
15. What about grants? Does TMCI help write grants?
- We discourage new ministries from seeking grants since the process can be time-consuming and many organizations that give grants do not accept unsolicited applications. Large foundations choose recipients of grants years in advance. When your ministry is established (has a track record) and you have a volunteer grants writer or a grants writer who will work on a contingency basis (fee or percentage when the grant is received), you will have a better chance of obtaining a grant, especially if your ministry meets a social as well as spiritual need. If you decide to apply for grants, TMCI will provide all information needed to prove your tax exemption. The government sometimes makes grants to organizations such as after-school programs, but bear in mind that government grants come with a lot of stipulations about what you can or cannot say or do.
16. TAX TIME and 990 forms: Are you considered a church, ministry, or religious non-profit?
- A general idea of who should file a 990: 990, 990EZ 990N https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/churches-religious-organizations
- Check IRS site or consult your professional tax person (one familiar with 501c3 organizations) if you are unsure.
- There are some organizations not required to file, including churches and mission societies controlled by a church or churches, most of whose activities are conducted in, or directed at persons in foreign countries
Requirements for filing 990
Gross revenues under $50,000 per year 990-N (postcard can be filed online)
Gross revenues between $50,000 and $200,000 990-EZ
Gross revenues over $200,000 or assets over $500,000 990
IRS link to information: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-990