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Q. How old does one have to do to be an ordained minister?

   Ministers are of all ages, however, in California, 
   you cannot officiate at a wedding unless you are 
   at least 18 years old. The legal age may vary in 
   different states so check with your local Marriage 
   Bureau for you State's requirements. 

Q. Are there any restrictions on membership in the ULC 
   because of race, color, creed, or sex?
A. None.

Q. May I, as an ordained Minister perform work of a 
   psychosocial nature without a license?
A. Yes, but this varies from state to state. For 
   instance, in California, you are exempt from 
   licensing requirements by the California Business 
   and Professions Code section 9052; you are also 
   exempt from license requirements for performing 
   marriage, family, or any religious counseling 
   by the Business and Professions code section 17188; 
   to perform psychological and psychometric services 
   or counseling by section 2908 of the same code. 

Q. What authority do we have for the "Laying-on-of-Hands" 
   during services and healing?
A. The "Laying-on-of-Hands" has been an integral part 
   of the church from the beginning. Read Hebrews 6:2 
   and Acts 8:17 & 18. "Then they laid their hands on 
   them , and they received the Holy Ghost."

Q. As a Minister what tax exempt privileges am I allowed?
A. In most cases none. As a private citizen, all your 
   earnings are subject to taxation. Some States do 
   allow an exemption on private property for the 
   clergy; check with you local Assessor. 

Q. What services do I have to perform as an ordained 
A. There are no specific duties required, other than 
   those needed by the congregation. You are 
   authorized to perform all ministerial services 
   such as: baptisms, marriages, funerals; and to 
   conduct church worship and meetings.

Q. What is the best way to contact other ULC Ministers 
   in my area? 

A. Place an article in the Universal Life Press 
   asking for those in your area to contact you.

Q. Can I have a full-time job outside of my ministerial duties? 

A. Of course. And you may earn any amount wages that 
   you desire; there is no limit as to time or types 
   of employment a minister may have.

Q. I am a prisoner; can they discriminate against 
   me legally for being a ULC minister?
A. You may be interested to know that Congress 
   passed Tile III of the Civil Rights Act of 
   1964, Section 1402 (g) refers to members of 
   Certain Religious Faiths: (1) exemption 
   (2) time for filing application (3) period 
   for which exemption is effective.

Q: Can I use a tape recorder in my dealings 
   with the IRS?
A: Yes; there is no law that forbids its use. 
   In a hearing before judge W.E. Craig, the 
   taxpayer was given the right to use a tape 
   recorder during his audit.

Q: My accountant tells me that I am only allowed 
   to get 30% deductions on my income tax. 

   Where can I find where it says I can take the 5O%?

A: A notarized statement of such must be sent by 
   certified mail to the IRS. This is covered in 
   "Your Federal Income Tax" for individuals in 
   use in preparing 1979 returns. Ask the IRS for 
   Publication 17, (Rev. Nov. 79) and look on page 
   90, center column.


Q: What is a vow of poverty? 

A: A vow of poverty states that one relinquishes 
   all personal property to his church, including 
   the clothes on his back. He owns absolutely 
   nothing. We do not encourage anyone to take a 
   vow of poverty.

Q: Is a Minister who has taken the Vow of Poverty 
   and who performs duties required by the religious 
   order exempted from income tax withholding?

A: Yes, provided that the income is directly related 
   to the exempt functions of the organization, 
   the remuneration you receive may be excludable 
   from income taxes, according to the Internal 
   Revenue Service.


Q: May a congregation have a postal Bulk Rate mailing permit?

A: Yes, a congregation as a nonprofit organization is 
   entitled to mail at a bulk rate. This is a bulk rate 
   which is available to all nonprofit organizations. 

   Ask your local Postmaster about these rates and the 
   permit required.

Q: Can the congregation send fund-raising materials 
   through the mail?

A: Yes, providing it does not break Postal Laws 
   (i.e.) Chain letters which request money, bonds, 
   books, or other items of value, and promise 
   a substantial return to the remitter, are 
   regarded as non-mailable under Postal Lottery 
   and Fraud Laws, Title 18, U.S. Code, 
   Sections 1302 and 1341.

Q: Can I use my apartment as my church?
A: Your apartment may be headquarters for your congregation; your congregation can hold meetings in the apartment or wherever the Board of Directors may decide.

Q: What is the minimum number of people required to organize a congregation?
A: A minimum of three people -- a Pastor (or President), Secretary and Treasurer.

Q: Is it necessary to keep minutes of Board Meetings?
A: Yes. Everything done by a church must be done by resolution voted on and passed by the Board of Directors. You need record only those things which passed.

Q: If a congregation no longer functions, and no one wants it, who gets the property?
A: It reverts to International Headquarters. 

Q: When issuing receipts does my congregation use the tax number or our charter number?
A: The correct number to use is the tax number. A sample receipt is provided for you on page 26.

Q: How do I use the corporate number on my charter agreement? 
A: The corporate number indicates that the Universal Life Church is registered in that state and is a valid non-profit organization. This number is used when dealing with any queries with the State and Local governments.

Q: What courses does the ULC offer to help me open and operate a congregation?
A: All of the courses offered by the ULC will help the new minister in starting a congregation. The Course on Parliamentary Law and Church Procedure would be the most beneficial on legal aspects of the church. This may be obtained for a donation of $40.00 from International Headquarters.

Q: Is a chartered congregation an extension, or branch, of the "Mother Church?
A: No. Even though the IRS will try to tell you that you are an extension, this is not true as you are Universal Life. You are, also, not an associated church. They will try to get you to say that you are a branch church -- you are not a branch, you are Universal Life.

Q: Can three of one family organize a congregation?
A: Any three individuals 18 years or older may band together to organize a congregation.

Q: Can the Pastor be on the Board of another congregation?
A: There are no rules or regulations on the number of boards an individual may serve.

Q: How often does the Board of Directors meet?
A: Usually once a month. Under certain circumstances, your Board may vote to meet every other month. 

Q: How many members of the Board must be present to have a legal meeting?
A: At least two.

Q: Can I donate to the congregation if I'm the minister and a member of the Board of Directors?
A: Yes. The law says you may donate up to 50% of your taxable income to the church of your choice'. It is no more than a coincidence if you are the pastor and member of the Board of Directors of the congregation to which you make a donation.

Q: Does the International Headquarters control the money and property I donate to my chartered congregation?
A: No. All money and property will be in your congregation's name, i.e. Universal Life Church. Other than the $2.00 per month bookkeeping fee, your congregation will have no financial obligations to the International Headquarters. If you give additional financial support, you will do so of your own free will and because you will receive additional educational courses and degrees in turn for your donations. 

Q: What happens to my congregation' s assets when I die? Does all the money then go to the International Headquarters?
A: Your congregation is operated by a Board of Directors. Upon your death as minister, the remaining Board members simply appoint a new minister and the congregation goes on indefinitely. If all the members of your congregation should die, including the entire Board of Directors, and all congregation assets were completely abandoned, then the assets would revert to the International Headquarters as opposed to reverting to the state.

Q: Does our congregation need an employer ID number?
A: Only if you are paying wages and withholding income taxes. 

Q: Can the congregation pay for my health insurance if I am a member of the Board of Directors?
A: Yes--if the Board of Directors votes that all of the members should be covered with such insurance. You may vote to have the congregation reimburse the members for all medical, hospital, dental and other health care, including medications, provided such coverage is for all members and intended to insure the uninterrupted work by taking care of the health of the Board members.

Q: Can the congregation pay for my life insurance if I am a minister in the congregation?
A: No -- unless the congregation is made the beneficiary in the policy and the coverage is voted by the Board of Directors. (See page 64)

Q: Can the congregation pay utilities of a home used as headquarters? 
A: Yes, the Board of Directors of your congregation may vote to pay all reasonable utilities.

Q: May I donate real or personal property to the congregation if I am the minister and member of the Board of Directors?
A: Yes. Real or personal property may be donated at "market value" without regard to your cost. However, if you have been taking depreciation on property, the depreciation you have taken must be subtracted from the "market value" of the property to establish the base for your tax-deduction from your gift to the church. We suggest that you do not donate property to your congregation unless it is a willing gift of which you relinquish all claim.

Q: Could the board of trustees vote to give me as Pastor an allowance (no salary) of $750.00 per month for housing and transportation, and other expenses without my having to report or account how it is spent?
A: Records must be kept of all congregation expenditures.

Q: Can a congregation start a nursery? If so does it need a state license?
A: Yes, a congregation may start a nursery. If the congregation intends to make its services open to the general public then yes, a license to operate a nursery must be obtained from the state. 

Q: Does the congregation have to file a tax return for the State of Federal government?
A: No. The chartered congregation reports to ULC International Headquarters indicating the number of meetings held, number of persons attending, monies in the bank at the beginning and end of the reporting period (see page 24). if the government requests to see your records refer them to International Headquarters. No one may see church records without a court order.
Q: Can the congregation provide me with an automobile if I'm the minister?
A: Yes, if the automobile is to be used on church business. The congregation can lease a car for the Minister's use (including the car you already own) and vote to pay all expenses relating to the operation of that car, including gas, oil, repairs, license fees, insurance, etc. Or, the Board of Directors may vote to have the congregation buy a car and maintain it for the use of its pastor. The Board of Directors may wish to provide other services for its pastor, such as a house, insurance, medical services, etc., in a similar manner.

Q: Can the Board vote to pay for the education of its members? 
A: Yes, the Board can vote to legally sponsor the education of its members.

Q: Can real property be declared a church where there is no building, and be exempt from tax as such?
A: Your congregation can hold meetings wherever the Board of Directors may decide. However, any property used exclusively for church services, and only that part, may be eligible for tax exemption. Check with your local tax authority. 

Q: Is it OK if I am the only person making donations to my congregation? 
A: Yes, but it is advisable to have more than one if possible. Remember that you are one among many that are donating to the Universal Life Church, Inc. throughout the world.

Q: Can I borrow money from my congregation?
A: Yes, providing that you repay the loan with a reasonable interest. 

Q: How often does a chartered congregation have to meet?
A: Generally, churches meet on a weekly basis, however, there is no rule in the law so it may be assumed that the meetings are so spaced as to be reasonable for the religious purpose of the congregation.

Q: May the congregations of Universal Life establish their own retirement program?
A: Yes, it is suggested that the Board of Directors of each congregation invest in a good solid retirement program.

Q: Are churches exempt from the payment of sales taxes on items used for religious services?
A: Yes. Most states exempt churches from having to low rates, listed in the advertising section of the make such oppressive taxes. California, is one state which does not make such exemption. 

Q: Can the congregation pay directly for any of the Pastor's clothing? 
A: Yes, for any garb being used by the Pastor while doing his Sacerdotal duties.

Q: How could I find out about property tax exemption for my congregation? 
A: Contact the local county tax assessor for all such information. It varies from county to county because it is a local government function., as it should be. 

Q: Can we move our congregation to another State?
A: Yes; just notify us of the address change and the change of officers, if any. Send in your old Charter and we will send you the new one with your new State number.

Q: Do we need a congregation statement of beliefs? 
A: No; but you may have one if the members of your congregation so wish.

Q: If we need copies of the Certificate of Authority for the church to operate in our State, who do we contact?
A: Write to the Secretary of State's office and request specific information. There is a basic fee charged for duplication.

Q: What name should I call my congregation? 
A: You are a congregation of the Universal Life Church, Inc. and this is the only legal name recognized by the Federal and State Governments. 

Q: Can the $5.00 per month bookkeeping fee go up? 
A: Yes, the bookkeeping fee could be raised. But only if the costs become excessively high will we raise the amount charged.
Q: What must I do to prove that I have given to the church?
A: It is important to keep records; receipts, canceled checks and other evidence that you have donated congregation's to the Universal Life Church, Inc., as evidence to substantiate your claims.

Q: How old must one be to be on the Board of Directors? A: All members of the board must be of legal age, 18 years, or older. Q: What other than money and property, can be donated to the congregation? 
A: Almost anything; such as jewelry, paintings, antiques and other objects of art. Household goods, used clothing, collections, books. 

Q: Is it necessary for our congregation to keep records of who made donations to it?
A: As a properly chartered congregation it is your duty to substantiate the donations made by yourself and members of your congregation. 

Q: Does being a chartered congregation entitle us to free advertising in the Universal Life Press? A: No; all advertising is paid advertising. Q: What is the liability of the members of our congregation?
A: No member of the congregation shall be personally liable to its creditors for any indebtedness of liability, and any and all creditors of this church shall look only to the assets of the church for payment.

Q: How can I help International Headquarters keep my file up to date?
A: Please print clearly your name, address, and zip code on your letter as well as your envelope. Use your file number on all correspondence with International Headquarters. 

Q: My congregation is inactive what do I do?
A: Write to International Headquarters and explain your situation. If your congregation anticipates some activity in the future we will place your folder in our 'Inactive' file. No bookkeeping fees are charged for "Inactive" files. Otherwise your church charter will be canceled.

Q: I am in the military; can the Board of Directors grant me a housing allowance in addition to that given to me by the military? 
A: Yes--but, since the government already provides you with housing (and, since the Board cannot pay for your housing directly and must make its bestowal in cash or its equivalent), such is considered by the IRS to be taxable income. 

Q: How should checks be made out to the congregation?
A: All checks should be made out to the Universal Life Church and deposited to the congregation's account. Pseudo-names are no longer acceptable for donation purposes. 

Q: Must l file and incorporate my new congregation?
A: The Universal Life Church, Inc. is already incorporated (or in the process of filing) in your State and no further filing of any kind is necessary.

Q: If the congregation pays for some clothing directly, is it still considered income to the Pastor?
A: No, it is garb used in the performance of his duties.

Q: Since the Pastor may wear street clothes, what is considered appropriate for payment by the congregation?
A: Not all Pastors wear clerical garb in the performance of their duties, so street garb is certainly appropriate.

Q: if the congregation gives him a travel allowance, or pays directly for part of the Pastor's auto expenses can he still take this as a personal deduction on his 1040?
A: No- the congregation has paid this as a service direct and it can not be deducted on his personal return.

Q: Where do we find information on Bingo and other fund raising activities?
A: Contact Rev. Jay Rode, the ULC National Director of Fund Raising Activities, at 1566 10 Mile Road NW, Sparta, Ml 49345. (616) 887-1202 

Q: Can you list briefly the various ways one can lose a congregation? 
A: The willful breaking of any local, state, or federal law; and, failure to send in quarterly reports and/or bookkeeping fees are grounds for cancellation. All of these conditions are mentioned in the agreement form, which each officer must read and sign. 

Q: Are prisoners allowed to have congregations?
A: Yes; we have many congregations in institutions throughout the country.

Q: Can my three cell-mates hold a congregational meeting behind cell bars?
A: Yes; there is no reason why you cannot, but it is best to check with the Warden about the rules of the institution before proceeding. 

Q: if I die, can my congregation be passed on to my beneficiaries? 
A: No; the two remaining members of the Board select an individual to replace the one who is gone. 

Q: Do the Board Members have to be local, or can they be from another state?
A: When at all possible, it is a good policy to have at least two of the members local. This is a majority (quorum) to transact business for the congregation.

Q: Besides the Congregation number are there any other numbers we need to be concerned about?
A: Yes. The IRS Identification number on your Certificate shows that all donations to this congregation are deductible. The State Number indicates that we have filed in your State.


Q: What types of investments and incomes may churches have?
A: It has been the policy of the Federal Government to actually promote organized religion by granting it almost total tax immunity. All income that accrues to a non-profit church corporation is tax exempt (with the exception of unrelated business income). There are about six different kinds of church income, five of which are totally tax exempt.

Donation Income - All money and property donated or willed to a church or otherwise received from its church members is tax exempt. A church may perform any type of services or engage in any business activity for the benefit of its members without paying taxes on the income.
Fund Raising Activity Income - Whenever a church sponsors a fund raising activity and charges admission, the income is tax exempt. All income that is generated by various church members by donating their services in return for contributions to their church is tax exempt.
Passive Church Investment Income - All income earned by a church via its own investments in stock, bonds, rental properties, bank accounts, etc.
is tax exempt. A passive investment is any investment that does not require day to day management and supervision by the directors of the church.
Capital Gains Income - Any income or profit realized by a church from the sale of church owned assets is tax exempt.
Related Business Income - Any income that accrues to a church from a business venture that can be justified on the basis that the business
is related to the mission of the church is tax exempt. Several examples of related business income can be found throughout the Catholic Church with regard to the radio and television stations that the church owns and operates. Churches are also engaged in publishing as well as the life insurance business. The Lutheran Church maintains a $3 billion insurance fund exclusively for church members.
Unrelated Business Income -- Churches can own and operate any kind of business. If the IRS can prove in court that the income from a particular business venture is not related to the overall mission of the church, then it can force the church to pay taxes on the income. The most famous and recent example of this is when the IRS finally forced the Christian Brothers Winery to pay income taxes on the revenue they received from the production and sale of liquor related products.
Q: What is "self-dealing?
A: "Self-dealing" includes borrowing or loaning money, buying or selling property, and any other activity in which a profit may be made for the Trustees or members of the Board of Directors - except that anyone may receive compensation reasonably related to services actually performed. 

Q: Can a pastor deposit his salary into the congregation account and take it out as cash?
A: No. This is "self-dealing." 

Q: My friend and I both have a congregation. If I make contributions to his congregation and he contributes to mine, would that be considered "self-dealing?"
A: No.

Q: My congregation operates a service station. Do I have to pay taxes on the income?
A: Yes. This is "unrelated income"- it has nothing to do with religious purposes of a church even though the congregation operates the station. All unrelated income is taxable.

Q: Can the congregation buy real estate and other property in its own name?
A: Yes, any person, natural or artificial, may own real estate. An individual is a natural person, as opposed to an organization which conducts business, such as a church. A church, a Common Law organization, or a corporation, are examples of artificial, or juristic, persons.

Q: Can the congregation own and operate a non-related business? 
A: Yes, the church may own a non-related business; see IRS Publication 598, "Tax on Unrelated Business Income of Exempt Organizations." 

Q: Can the congregation pay utilities of a home used as headquarters? 
A: Yes, the Board of Directors of your congregation may vote to pay all reasonable utilities.

Q: How does a congregation get credit cards?
A: The congregation applies for credit just like everyone else. Sometimes a different form is used. If your congregation has established accounts (stationary stores are easy to get) they will accept them as references. A congregation also uses bank relationships it presently has. Apply to them all. Often when a congregation makes 20 applications and one or two come through, the rest are easier to obtain. Go for a carte blanch (company paid) card, small department store cards and oil company cards. Credit card companies give a good credit rating to those who pay their bills immediately. So pay them when they come and don't pay any interest.

Q: Can the congregation own stocks and bonds?
A: Yes, the congregation may own securities as passive investments. There are many stock brokerage firms, some are called discount brokerage firms because they don't give advice or research. Discount firms charge 30% to 80% less in commissions. 

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