For some time now, the IRS has not been auditing churches. As I explained in more detail in this post, the IRS’ decision to “suspend” church audits stems from a 2009 federal court decision finding the IRS’ regulations on church audits to be unlawful. Since that decision, the IRS, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, has not been auditing any churches. It has said since 2009 that it is preparing new regulations that will enable it to begin auditing churches again, but we have not seen those regulations finalized.
However, at a recent tax conference, Treasury Attorney-Advisor Ruth Madrigal said that the IRS’ long-awaited rules on church audits are “close” to being finalized. So what does this mean for churches?
What this means is that once the IRS’ regulations on auditing churches are finalized, then it is logical to assume that the IRS will begin auditing churches again. Whether this means that the IRS will audit churches that participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday remains to be seen. We will have to closely watch the IRS’ actions once the church audit rules are finalized.
But ultimately, the constitutional rights of pastors and churches do not turn on whether the IRS decides to audit churches. Alliance Defending Freedom has said for years that the Johnson Amendment in section 501(c)(3) of the tax code is unconstitutional. If the IRS audits and penalizes churches for something it believes violates the Johnson Amendment, then Alliance Defending Freedom stands ready to defend the constitutional rights of America’s pastors to speak biblical truth uncensored by the IRS.
For now, we will continue to monitor the situation and will make you aware of any changes the IRS proposes. As we say here at Alliance Defending Freedom, “You watch your flock, and we’ll watch the horizon.” And if you have not yet signed up to participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, please do so today. This year, Pulpit Freedom Sunday is all about marriage, and America desperately needs to hear what God says about marriage at this crucial time. Signing up for Pulpit Freedom Sunday is easy and we hope to see thousands of pastors standing united on June 9, 2013, preaching biblical truth about marriage. Will you be one of those pastors? Please sign up today.