Are Religious Groups given Preference over other Non-Profits?
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sued the IRS over discriminatory treatment (here). FFRF claimed that the IRS required it to file information (Form 990) that it does not require of religious groups, and that the IRS improperly revoked its tax-exempt status after FFRF declined to file that information.
RNS explains that non-profits and “faith-based organizations not strictly tied to a particular church … are required to file annual 990s. But churches and other houses of worship are not.” The 990 includes a basic income statement, and in some cases, executive compensation. FFRF believes other non-profits have grounds for suing the IRS as well.
I do not understand the logic behind the special exemption for churches. Note that only the charitable arm of FFRF is threatened. The main body of FFRF, which fights against religious establishment by various levels of government, is not affected. Given the massive resources of various religious institutions and lobbies, FFRF has done surprisingly well.