An increasingly popular FAQ in church planting in Louisiana is “Do I have to apply for a 501(c)(3) covering?” The answer I’ve always received from people smarter than me is “No.” And I’ve taught this in church planter training events every chance I’ve gotten. However recently, banks have been asking for this determination before allowing a new church to open an account. This is tough, because it can take months to get approved for a solo 501(c)(3) status. But finally, a CPA friend has tracked down the exact IRS statue on this question! Yes!!!
Get the entire doc: Churches, Integrated Auxiliaries, and Conventions or Associations of Churches
So the answer is “NO!” You do not have to have it! Church Planter, print this off & carry it with you to the bank, give it to the banker, & open that account!
Now, as a Louisiana Baptist Church or Mission you can obtain a letter identifying you as an auxillary. But it shouldn’t be a requirement for you to do business as a church.
For a couple of more helps in this area, see my Posts 7 Steps to Establishing Your Church as a Legal Organization & Handling Money in a New Church.