For many years, U.S. Senate Finance Committee member Charles Grassley (R-IA), has been looking into the financial practices of large media-based Christian ministries. Although he has not yet proposed any new laws that would govern how ministries report and manage their finances, in January he asked the ECFA
(Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) to create a commission that will make recommendations about how ministries can be more fiscally accountable. The ECFA has indicated that it will look into issues such as whether churches should be required to file detailed information returns (990s), the housing allowance, and tax rules governing “love offerings.” It has also indicated that it hopes to address these issues through self-regulation rather than legislation.
You can learn more about the issues the commission will address here. Also, ADF’s own Erik Stanley has been asked to serve on an advisory panel for the commission in view of his legal expertise in the area of churches and politics. We will continue to keep you updated on the work on the work of the commission. In the mean time, the best way for churches to minimize risk of running afoul of current or future regulations is to become a member of a financial accountability organization such as ECFA.
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