Maryland Church Law Attorney
When it comes to business planning, obtaining tax exempt status, and implementing employment law, churches and religious institutions are often subject to different laws and regulations than other entities. For this reason, contending with these types of issues tends to be particularly complicated for these groups, especially for those without legal representation, so if your church or other faith-based organization needs assistance with incorporation, litigation, employment law, or another legal matter, please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated Maryland church law attorneys for legal support, advise, and assistance.
Religious organizations are generally considered to be non-stock corporations and so fall under the purview of Maryland’s general corporate law statutes. There are, however, a few provisions that relate specifically to the formation of religious corporations by congregations. For instance, religious organizations must file charters with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation explaining: the name of the religious corporation and the church, the purpose for which it was formed, the time and manner that trustees will be elected, and the qualifications of individuals who can vote in elections. Failing to comply with any of these numerous incorporation-related rules can have dire consequences for a religion organization, including the loss of tax exempt status.
Although Maryland law does not require religious institutions to include information about their tax-exempt status when filing their Articles of Incorporation, the IRS does require the inclusion of certain language when an organization files for tax exempt status. Failing to ensure that a faith-based corporation will qualify under the agency’s strict tax-exempt rules can result in the loss of that status, the assessment of hefty fines, and lengthy tax litigation. For help maintaining your own tax-exempt status or disputing a federal challenge to your organization’s qualification for tax exempt status, please contact our legal team to learn more about how to protect your church.
The work of employees and volunteers often plays a key role in a church’s ability to accomplish its ministry. This, combined with the fact that churches can qualify for a number of special exemptions under the state’s employment law, makes a thorough understanding of Maryland’s employment statutes extremely important for religious organizations. Many of the exemptions, for instance, are nuanced and difficult to claim and maintain, and failing to strictly fulfill their requirements can result in a church losing its tax-exempt status, incurring corporate liability, or experiencing financial instability. For help navigating these complicated matters, including hiring and firing, discipline, investigations of harassment, ADA accommodations, overtime requirements, negotiating severance packages, or maintaining pension plans, please don’t hesitate to call our office today.
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These are only a few of the unique legal issues that religious organizations in Maryland often face. To learn more about handling claims of abuse, complying with IRS regulations, adhering to state and local zoning laws, and navigating international law, please call the experienced church law attorneys at Simms Showers LLP today. We can be reached at 703-879-1364 or via online message.