Corporation Sole – Setting the Record Straight

This last week I was contacted by an awesome reporter from the Bend Bulletin named Joseph Ditzler. He requested to interview myself regarding our ministry, the Corporation Sole and our vision for helping to raise up the next generation of leaders for the Body of Christ.

Below, I review and comment on his article to clarify the finer points of the Corporation Sole and also to highlight subtle grammatical enhancements to make all statements 100% accurate for our followers.

WHAT THE ARTICLE GOT RIGHT

I am thankful that the experts that Joseph interviewed all agree that individuals attempting to use the Corporation Sole for its unintended purposes to evade lawful taxation are 100% scams and are negatively impacting the reputation of lawful corporation soles used by Christian Churches and ministries across America. Only bona-fide Christian Churches should access the benefits that a Corporation Sole provides. In fact, our ministry here at The Empowerment Center rejects over 65% of the requests for our Corporation Sole registration assistance.  All of the ministries that we have assisted are Churches that have a minimum of 4 congregation members who sign an affidavit under the penalties of perjury declaring that they have organized a legitimate Christian Church.  For the record, we are extremely disappointed that scam artists and sham organizations use any form of non-profit to avoid taxation whether it is a 501c3 or a Corporation Sole.  We believe the Corporation Sole should ONLY be used by legitimate bona-fide leaders of Christian Churches. We agree that the legitimate concerns are warranted, however, it’s important to inform the public that our standards for helping legitimate Churches get Corporation Sole’s are beyond reproach and our motives are righteous in hoping to see legitimate Christian Churches set free from an otherwise extremely restrictive 501c3 law that prevents Churches from being able to speak the truth about matters of politics and policy including what type of behavior is acceptable within the congregation whether it is in regards to freedom of speech, sexual orientation or all American Christian family values.  These are matters that have been laid out in the Bible for Christians and they should not be open to addendum’s or alterations by the state or policy-makers.

TECHNICAL INACCURACIES OF THE REPORT

Mr. Ditzler published the article this Sunday (front page news!) with the headlines, “Leading his flock, or fleecing them?” and “Questionable salvation in Sunriver” and he was able to get credible opinions from both Susan Gary, a professor on nonprofit organizations, trusts and estates at the University of Oregon School of Law as well asMichael Kron from The Oregon Department of Justice who both agree with our opinions that Corporation Sole is only for bona-fide Christian Ministries and should NEVER be used for any other purpose.  In the past, several individuals tried using the corporation sole for its unintended purposes and they learned the hard way  not to abuse the privilege that is earmarked exclusively for Christian Ministries.

Joshua Kenny-Greenwood

Pastor Joshua Kenny-Greenwood pictured above. Photo by Ryan Brennecke / The Bulletin

This is just a grammatical error but, until the paper publishes a correction, when they say,“Joshua Kenny-Greenwood registers clients as Corporation Sole, which he says creates tax exempt religious organizations and, further, allows them to take part in political campaigns and influence legislation. The IRS and State authorities say that advertising to file or helping someone file as a Corporation Sole to eschew taxes is a common scam.”

1)  We do not have “clients”, in fact the word client is indicative that we are running a “for profit” business which is false. Here at The Empowerment Center, we’ve only ever freely helped Churches either reorganize or establish their ministries with a Corporation Sole. To this end, we vet each and every single Church that asks for our help (we currently deny 65% of total requests) if 4 people willing to sign an affidavit under the penalties of perjury attesting to the fact that they are organizing a bona-fide Christian Church (and even agreeing on this affidavit that they are meeting all 14 points to the 14 point test standard of a true Church that the IRS uses). After reviewing and agreeing with the churches request for assistance, we accept donations, but in the end, even if the Church cannot afford a donation, we will still help that Church if they qualify and have, in fact, helped nearly 100+ Churches at absolutely no cost whatsoever.

2)  The article states, “Joshua Kenny-Greenwood registers clients as Corporation Sole’s”.
I can state firmly that I, Joshua Kenny-Greenwood, have not and will never will register a Corporation Sole and act as it’s Oregon based registered agent in my own name or for my own benefit. That is not how it works at all!  Only upon a Church signing a 17 page Statutory Declaration of Church Establishment affidavit would our Corporation Sole, The Empowerment Center Overseer and Successors, a Corporation Sole even consider acting as that Church’s Oregon based registered agent. In this instance, there is a huge legal significance between Joshua as a person and our Churches Corporation Sole registering the individuals. This is a technical or grammatical inaccuracy that should definitely be revised by the Bend Bulletin.

EXPERT’S OPINIONS END UP BEING JUST THAT….OPINIONS.

There is quote under the heading, “Experts Disagree” with the following statement from Susan Gary, a professor on nonprofit organizations, trusts and estates at the University of Oregon School of Law which states:

In fact, at one point in the article there is quote under the heading, “Experts Disagree” with the following statement from Susan Gary, a professor on nonprofit organizations, trusts and estates at the University of Oregon School of Law which states,

“Experts in the field of tax law and charitable giving see obvious flaws in his argument. For one, Kenny-Greenwood’s interpretation of Section 508(c)(1)(a) is mistaken, said Susan Gary, a professor on nonprofit organizations, trusts and estates at the University of Oregon School of Law. The law excuses churches from the requirement that organizations notify the IRS they are seeking nonprofit status under Section 501(c)(3), nothing more, she said. Churches are automatically considered tax-exempt organizations and subject to 501(c)(3), even if they don’t notify the IRS, Gary said.”

Susan Gary’s statement that Churches are automatically subject to 501(c)(3) even if they do not notify the IRS is completely non-factual. Mrs. Gary is correct in her statement that 508c1a does excuse a Church from being legally required to notify the IRS of their exemption status, but implying that the Church itself is under the law of 501c3 automatically is factually wrong.

The Federal law of 26 USC 508(c)(1)(a) is unique because it MANDATORILY exempts Churches from taxation. Meaning, unlike 501c3 that has conditions for organizations to meet in order to enjoy their tax-exempt status, Churches organized under 508c1a have fewer conditions to meet in order to enjoy their tax exemption status. In fact, the first sentence of the law itself specifically states, “Except as provided in subsection (c), an organization organized after October 9, 1969, SHALL NOT be treated as an organization described in section 501 (c)(3)” With great emphasis on the, “SHALL NOT BE TREATED AS AN ORGANIZATION DESCRIBED IN SECTION 501c3”.

According to legal description, 501c3 is limited to ONLY incorporations, community chests, funds or foundations, NOT to Churches! Since 99.9% of Churches incorporate themselves when organizing their financial structure, they inadvertently come directly under the legal jurisdiction of 501c3 because 501c3 specifically covers incorporations.  Rather than incorporate, we encourage Churches to organize their Church through a Statutory Declaration Affidavit, because by them doing so, their organized Church Affidavit is neither considered an incorporation, community chest, fund or foundation and is therefore under the jurisdiction of 508c1a and NOT 501c3. Only the Churches subsequent Corporation Sole (and NOT the Church itself) is underneath 501c3 because the Corporation Sole is incorporated through the state.

Other comments related to prior instances of Corporation Sole corruption or individuals using it for its unintended purposes are understandable and we agree with all of them completely.

Question: Unsavory individuals used the Corporation Sole as a tax shelter in the past?
Answer: Yes

Question:  Unsavory individuals used the 501c3 non-profit as a tax shelter in the past?
Answer:  Yes

This does not mean that the Corporation Sole or the 501c3 non-profit is not a legitimate vehicle for Churches to organize their finances. It just means that they are designed for legitimate churches and non-profits to be used as they are intended… not as tax shelters.

THIS IS ABOUT CHURCH FREEDOM OF SPEECH

This is one of the major features that makes the Corporation Sole so unique… unlike every other form of a Church organizing itself today under our current tax laws, a Church that has a Corporation Sole stands out because in order to first organize a Corporation Sole (which is nothing more than an incorporation of a title or office held within a Church), a Church under 26 USC 508c1a must ALREADY be established! This creates a jurisdictional difference between the Church itself and its financial holdings entity which is the Corporation Sole. Therefore, when pastor preaches on Sunday morning, he/she is not preaching from the power and authority of his Corporation Sole (the Churches bank account), but rather, he/she is preaching from the power and authority of BOTH the Holyspirit and their unincorporated Church affidavit that is organized under 508c1a. Currently, under the United States tax code, there is no other viable method for a Church to organize itself financially and NOT have the Church itself be subjected to restrictive 501c3 laws. This strategy does not make the Corporation Sole immune to 501c3 laws because it is incorporated.

This gives Churches the same authority they enjoyed prior to 501c3’s implementation in October 1969. This was a time when Pastors like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. used to be able to influence Government and who’s Churches were instrumental in effectively ending segregation here in America with the passing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968(which ended both segregation here in America and created the fair market housing act). These acts were DIRECT RESULTS of the Church standing up, speaking freely and rallying to influence positive and much needed changes in America. In fact, the Churches influence was so great, that it is said that it was the primary influence of then President Lyndon Johnson in enacting 501c3 laws so that the Church would hopefully never again enter the political fray!

Can anyone with a straight face honestly say that our country is better off since 1969? We currently have a Christian divorce rate of 75%, our Christian morals are being completely eroded from this country and we have somehow managed to rack up over $127 TRILLION DOLLARS in Government unfunded liabilities! Suffice to say, the current system is NOT working, its broken and we as Christians are the solution. If we were not the solution then why does it say in Romans 8:20-21, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

The Children of God ARE the very thing that will liberate creation itself! It is time for Churches and Christians to WAKE UP and restore this world back into Godly order through righteousness. If our goal is anything less than completely restoring this world, then what in the world are we doing here as Christians?! If it takes Churches influencing policies SO BE IT. This is why our ministry will continue to preach about the Corporation Sole and how it can help FREE the Church itself from these restrictive 501c3 laws.

By Joshua Kenny-Greenwood, Overseer of The Empowerment Center Church

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