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Is an independent gospel mission a church?

Everett Moreland

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I would appreciate comments from anyone who has looked at whether an independent gospel mission, not associated or affiliated with or controlled by a church, is a church for church plan purposes under ERISA. This gospel mission serves transients, including providing room and board, and requires them to attend daily religious services provided by the mission, which are conducted by licenced minsters employed by the mission.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Danny Miller

To be a church plan, the plan must be established and maintained by a church or an organization controlled by or associated with a church whose function is to administer retirement or welfare benefit plans for churches. In your case, you would want the gospel mission to be a church. The IRS has established a number of criteria that it uses to determine if an organization is a church. My gut feeling is that a gospel mission probably would be found to be a church, but I really would have to know more about your facts to be able to make that determination. The criteria the IRS uses are located in the IRS Exempt Organizations Examination Guidelines Handbook, at section 321.3. Hope this helps.


Danny Miller

Conner & Winters

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(202) 783-5711


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