The Freedom From Religion Foundation and its North Carolina chapter, Triangle Freethought Society, sued the Internal Revenue Service for giving religious groups preferential treatment.
Under IRS regulations, all 501(c)3 non-profit organizations must file an onerous annual Form-990 — except churches. The Form 990 requires detailed reports on revenue and functional expenses, activities, governance, management, how groups fulfill their mission, and what proportion is spent on programs, management and fundraising.
FFRF and Triangle Freethought spend thousands of dollars each year to complete the 990. We have to track all our money and show the IRS where it all goes. Churches and other religious organizations do not have to file this form, do not have to track their funds, do not have to publicly report their funds, and do not have to pay accountants to complete the form.
The "preferential treatment of churches" directly benefits churches, while discriminating against other non-profit organizations, "solely on the basis of religious criteria."
The District Court initially granted FFRF standing to sue on August 22, 2013. After the Seventh Circuit decided against FFRF on the parsonage exemption lawsuit, the District Court dismissed this lawsuit as well. The court held that FFRF and Triangle did not have "standing" to sue. The court basically said that the IRS had to first officially determine that FFRF was not eligible for the Form-990 exemption before FFRF would have standing to sue.
- Legal complaint
- Press Release
- Motion to Dismiss
- Court order denying IRS's motion to dismiss the lawsuit
- IRS's motion for summary judgment
- FFRF's response brief opposing the IRS motion for summary judgment
- IRS's reply to FFRF's response brief
- Court's order and opinion dismissing on standing