Got a Question? How do I:

Obtain an EINIncorporate | Get Federal Tax Exempt Status | Get NY Sales Tax Exemption

File my taxes as a pastor?Get a housing allowance?

Why do I need an EIN & how do I get it?

An EIN # is sometimes required to open a bank account in the organization’s name, incorporate your church, and to hire employees. You also need this number to apply for New York Sales Tax Exemption.

Get a Federal EIN:

  1. Go to https://sa1.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp
  2. Click the last option that says “View Additional Types, Including Tax Exempt. . .”
  3. Select the appropriate option, (probably Church)
  4. Select, “Started a New Business”
  5. You will probably select “Individual”
  6. Follow the directions from there

It takes five minutes to apply, and you can receive the number immediately. Once on the website, click the “Begin Application” button.

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How, (and why) do I incorporate my new church?…

First of all, you need to incorporate your new church so that you can legally obtain a legal new “entity”.  This entity, in New York called a Not-for-Profit Corporation, offers protection to the leaders & members of the

church in case of lawsuits. If you are not incorporated as such, you have no protection, and can be held individually, personally, responsible for lawsuits (& settlements) made against the church.

How to get your incorporation:

Here are some items you must complete before filing your application.

  1. Pick a name for your church. If you are pursuing a more common name (i.e. – First Baptist Church), you will want to ensure it is available; else your application will be denied.
  2. In picking the name, consider your community and what might be welcomed by the lost in your area. Don’t automatically assume a “churchy” name is best.
  3. To be sure that the corporate name you choose is free for use, contact the New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations in writing and make a request for the availability of the name you want to use.
  4. Enclose a check, money order or Credit Card Authorization Form (available on the Department of State website at www.dos.state.ny.us)for $5.00 per name, payable to the Department of State, and send the request to:

 NYS, Department of State
Division of Corporations
41 State Street
Albany, New York 12231
or fax to: (518) 473-1654

Ensure the following items are in your Incorporation Certificate

  1.  The church is stated to be a Type B corporation
  2. There is a purpose clause detailing what the church intends to do (see sample)
  3. There are three directors named (with mailing addresses)
  4. Necessary Tax language is included. (see sample)
  5. For the full details on what must be included, click here

This is a sample Incorporation Certificate for you to download and use as a template.

 The Certificate of incorporation must be filed with the county clerk’s office in the county where you will be

holding services. There will be a $75 filing fee. You can find the county clerk’s office by a simple Google

search. (i.e. – “County Clerk Saratoga County NY”)

This covers your incorporation; NOT your federal & state tax-exempt status. If you require more information, you may find it on the NY Attorney General’s website.
Legal Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact your attorney with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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 Obtaining Federal Tax Exemption

Gotten a Federal EIN # yet? You need to obtain one before filling out the NYS Tax Exemption form. This number allows you to hire employees and incorporate your church. It takes only a few minutes on the IRS website, and you can receive the number immediately. Once on the website, click the “Begin Application” button.

Federal Tax Exemption:

A new church plant sponsored by an SBC church is automatically accepted as a part of the SBC.

  1. HBA will notify BCNY (Baptist Convention of New York) of all the pertinent info: pastor, church name, contact info, and request that they be given an SBC ID number.
  2. The new church plant can then write to the Executive Committee to initiate its tax exemption status.
  3. Write the Business and Finance office of the Executive Committee requesting inclusion in SBC’s group exemption for 501c3.

Identify the sponsoring church in the letter as well as the name and contact information for the church plant.

There is a Word document form letter that you can use to simply drop in your information.

Mail the letter to the following address:

Vice President for Convention Relations
Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37203-3699

 The Executive Committee will then contact BCNY to confirm the validity of the request. When the SBC Executive Committee contacts BCNY, they ask two questions, 1) does the church contribute to SBC causes? and 2) has it held a meeting to vote to become a church?

 The BCNY does not expect the church plant to support SBC causes until they start receiving a regular offering. Until that time, the financial support of SBC efforts is recognized through the sponsoring church. This is a fluid process that is not black and white. Sometimes a new plant will need to wait until it files information on its first Annual Church Profile with the SBC before the SBC’s Executive Committee is comfortable counting it as an SBC congregation.

Once the Executive Committee is satisfied the church meets the two-fold qualifications, it will write a letter to the church acknowledging them as a part of the SBC and therefore eligible for federal tax exemption. Once received, this letter should be kept on file for future reference.

 This letter is the proof of your 501c(3) status.

This letter should be good for three years. After that, should the church need to prove its exempt status, all that is needed is to request another letter from the Executive Committee. In other words, the exemption continues as long as the church stays in the SBC (i.e. meets those two qualifications). However an outside organization may need more current proof. Examples of times this might be needed are opening an account in a different bank, going with a payroll service instead of doing payroll in-house, securing a loan or credit card from a lending institution, or anything financial in nature.

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New York State Tax Exemption

In order to receive tax exemption for New York State, fill out NY State’s two page form here.

If you need additional clarification, the instructions are on the following pages of the form. They will want to know you have a federal exemption, so make sure that is confirmed before completing this form.

Mail your completed application to:

NYS Tax Department
Exempt Organizations Unit
W A Harriman Campus
Albany, NY 12227

Legal Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact your attorney with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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File my taxes as a pastor?

We recommend the SBC’s Guidestone as a great resource for these and a lot of other financial questions. Please check the Guidestone home page here.

Minister Housing Allowance

Click here for our Housing Allowance FAQ (pdf)