In order to be recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity (which allows givers a tax deduction for gifts to the church) and as a legal entity in the states of Maryland or Delaware, the church should complete (Steps 1–4). Step 5 is for the benefit of churches in Maryland and allows them to avoid paying sales tax. However, Steps 1-4 must be completed to complete Step 5.
This information is not offered as legal advice, but is for general information only.
Step 1: Corporate Charter (Incorporation)
This legal document must be prepared and filed with the appropriate State agency in the state the church is located. Information on document preparation as well as a blank form may be attained below:
State Incorporation Documents
Download the Maryland: How to Incorporate as a Church: MD document
Download the Delaware: How to Incorporate as a Church: DE document
Step 2: Corporate Charter Approval Letter along with Certified Copy of the Charter
This is issued by the appropriate state agency in response to #1 above. Upon receipt, this letter should be kept with other legal papers.
Step 3: Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Applying for an EIN is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service. Beware of Web sites on the Internet that charge for this free service.
The Internet EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an immediate EIN. You must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application.
Apply By FAX
You also can FAX the completed Form SS-4 application to FAX number (855) 641-6935. You will receive a return FAX with the EIN within four (4) business days to your provided fax number.
Apply By Mail
Mail the Form SS-4 application to the following address:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
The processing timeframe for an EIN application received by mail is four weeks.
Click here for more information and to stay up-to-date with any changes.
Step 4: Federal Tax Exemption Number (Group Exemption Number)
This is secured by contacting Denise DuBois at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, 10255 Old Columbia Road, Columbia, MD 21046-1716, 800-466-5290 x242. EIN must be submitted to the Convention.
Step 5: State of Maryland Tax Exemption Number
This is secured from the State of Maryland, Sales Tax Division, (410) 767-1300. File Form “Combined Registration Application.” Send to Central Registration, Comptroller of Maryland, Revenue Administration Division, 110 Carroll Street, Annapolis, MD 21411-0001. Any legal documents should be kept in a safe and secure place.