Official DocumentsIn 2006, Joshua decided to investigate what would be required for Asphodel to be legally recognized by a church, and found there is no one set procedure. All that is required in the state of Massachusetts is to send a letter to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and that is only needed if you want your clergy to legally marry people. The IRS, on the other hand, has a fairly involved procedure for demonstrating you are actually a church, and in the process of fulfilling the IRS paperwork requirements, we generated quite a few complicated documents. We are posting them here for the benefit of other Pagan groups seeking 501(c)3 tax exempt status as churches. It was an interesting challenge to try to describe who we are an how we do things in terms that would make sense to someone outside of our tradition, and while it isn't perfect, here is what we came up with.
As a legal entity, Raven Kaldera is president of The First Kingdom Church of Asphodel, and Tannin, Wintersong and Vinnie form the Board of Directors. Vinnie is the treasurer, and Joshua is the clerk. The Board of Directors forms the core of the Church Council which meets with Raven to determine church policy.
In September 6th, 2004, Asphodel filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be recognized as a religious non-profit corporation. The record of that filing can be obtained from the Website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, through their Corporate Database Search Page.
In June of 2006, with the approval of the church council, the Clerk filed as a church for 501(c)3 status (tax exempt non-profit) with the IRS. As indicated on Form 1023, churches are exempt from the requirement to file with the IRS to receive tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3, being granted tax-exempt status automatically under that section, but filing is often advised for groups who wish to confirm their status as a church with a government office. There is no one set legal guideline for determining when a group is legally a church, and the status of minority religious organizations is often ambiguous. In April 2007, the IRS approved this 501(c)3 paperwork, retroactive to September 2004, and sent us this letter. (Filing annual financial records with the IRS is only required if donations/income exceed $25,000 per year, which we don't foresee happening any time soon.)
Articles of Organization: The paperwork filed to organize Asphodel as a legal entity.
Charter of Faith: A document detailing the beliefs of the Asphodel tradition.
Constitution: The overall structure and policies of Asphodel.
Bylaws: A document detailing church policies.
Financial records: Summary of monetary donations and expenses.
Financial Records Policy: Details reimbursements and receipts.
Conflict of Interest Policy: Restricts the use of Church funds for personal gain.
Receipt of Donation: Blank form to show record of donation.