Atheists Sue IRS for Forcing Secular Non-Profits to Fill out more Detailed Forms than Churches

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Two groups of atheists have sued the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for what they call preferential treatment towards churches when it comes to nonprofit status.


Secular organizations that seek nonprofit classification must pay “expensive application fees” and file the “onerous annual Form 990,” which requires detailed reporting on revenue and activities, according to the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Triangle Freethought Society.


But religious organizations are not mandated to pay the same fee or complete the 990.


“Why should churches be exempt from basic financial reporting requirements? Equally important, why would churches not wish to be accountable?” Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, said in a press release. “Having tax-exempt status is a great privilege, and in exchange for that privilege, all other groups must file a detailed report annually to the IRS and the public on how we spend donations.”


FFRF President Emerita Anne Nicol Gaylor said: “The unfairness of this is so overwhelming. Churches are allowed to play by different rules.” The lawsuit claims that the IRS violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

FFRF Sues IRS Over Preferential Treatment Of Churches (Freedom from Religion Foundation)

Freedom From Religion Foundation Sues IRS For Not Requiring Churches To Annually Maintain Tax-Exempt Status (by Judith Davidoff, Daily Page)

Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Steven Miller (U.S. District Court, Western Wisconsin) (pdf)

Atheists and Non-Believers in U.S. Are Widely Viewed as “Lesser Americans,” Says Report (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Atheists May Not Perform Marriage Ceremonies, Federal Judge Rules (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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