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February 27, 2015

Philadelphia Churches Blast Mandate to Document Tax-Exempt Status

Church leaders in Philadelphia are pushing back against a city requirement that nonprofits file documents justifying tax exemptions on their property, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Scores of churches complained to council members after the city began sending out letters this month detailing the reporting mandate, and the president of faith group Philadelphia Black Clergy threatened a lawsuit.

Nonprofits are being asked to provide articles of incorporation, a copy of their property deed, and a statement of fundraising activities by March 31, pursuant to a 2013 city law aimed at ensuring exempt properties are used entirely for charitable purposes. One council member introduced a bill Thursday to eliminate the filing requirement, and another proposed extending the deadline to June 1. A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter said the requirement should not be onerous as it matches what charities had to show the federal government to secure 501(c)3 status.