Frequently Asked Questions - Formation of New Centers
Registration of Spiritist Organizations:
1-How should a Spiritist Center be classified in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations?
Under the 501(c)(3) classification for non profit organizations, the following are listed: Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literacy, Testing for Public Safety, To Foster National Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animal Organizations. (IRS Publication 557: Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization (1997). Please contact a tax professional to find out exactly what classification best fits the type of activities your organization will be involved in.
2-What about registering as a club under 501(c)(7) to qualify for some form of exemption?
The descriptions of the general activities for an organization as a club are “Pleasure, recreation, social activities.” (“General Nature of Activities” – IRS Publication 557: Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization (1997)). Clearly the objectives of a Spiritist organization are not met under a club classification.
3-And a classification as an educational entity?
Some states might require registration under their Board of Education along with other requirements. Inquiries should be directed to pertinent agencies in the state where the incorporation is being sought to ascertain if the application is viable.
4-Regarding the religious aspect of Spiritism, what are the implications under the separation of state/church when a Spiritist organization makes use of a governmental facility (e.g., a school classroom) for their meetings? Should Spiritist organizations omit their religious aspect in order to benefit from such an arrangement?
As long as the Spiritist groups/organizations are separated from the public school educational system, there are no implications for the use of classrooms, so long evidently as permission has been granted for such, with the agreement that the rules and regulations for this usage are followed as they would for any assembly. What non profit organizations are strictly prohibited of is discrimination against sex, religion, race, etc., in their meetings.
5-Is it possible for the USSC to offer materials regarding these matters?
The USSC can only offer these general guidelines, along with samples of articles of incorporation and bylaws. It is not empowered to dispense legal advice, and it can bear no responsibility in the independent decisions of Spiritist organizations as far as the structure and purposes chosen for their incorporation and governance. Moreover, there are different requirements for Spiritist entities subject to the rules and regulations of the states wherein their applications are filed.
See the link below for additional information: