How and Where to Lodge a Complaint About Political Church Activities
It’s a matter of law: non-profit organizations, including churches, must refrain “from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office” so long as they wish to be exempt from taxation for the large number of government services they receive.
Just because it’s against the law and the ethical standards of their own voluntary agreements with the government doesn’t mean that churches won’t go ahead and do it anyway. Far too often, churches want to have their cake (government services without having to pay taxes) and eat it too (interfering in political campaigns).
If and when you have evidence of a church violating the law and the standards of its own voluntary tax-exempt agreement with the IRS, there are two places you can report the violation.
1. Tell the IRS. Use Form 13909 to report any non-profit organization’s violation of its agreement with the government. The form allows you to make an anonymous report if you wish, and it also allows you to indicate that “I am concerned that I might face retaliation or retribution if my identity is disclosed.” Any relevant documentation of the violation can be included along with the form. As the form itself indicates, “The completed form, along with any supporting documentation, may be mailed to IRS EO Classification, Mail Code 4910DAL, 1100 Commerce Street Dallas, TX 75242-1198, faxed to 214-413-5415 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
2. Tell Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The organization (AU for short) has set up a dedicated website called Project Fair Play with a set of guidelines on politics for churches and other non-profit organizations and an online form through which you can report violations of the prohibition on church politicking. A team of researchers and legal experts employed by AU will look into your report. The advantage here is that with their resources, expertise and dedicated time they may be able to assemble a better case to the IRS than you could on your own.