Washington D.C., Apr 25, 2019 / 13:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A satanic group has announced they have been granted recognition as a church by the Internal Revenue Service.
In a statement published Thursday, the Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple said that they have received notice from the IRS and that the decision would grant the organization equal legal footing with other religious groups.
“This acknowledgement will help make sure the Satanic Temple has the same access to public spaces as other religious organizations, affirm our standing in court when battling religious discrimination, and enable us to apply for faith-based government grants,” the statement said.
The IRS has not commented on any conferral of status for the group, but guidance published on its website confirms that churches benefit from special tax rules, including automatic exemption from federal income tax.
IRS regulations draw a clear distinction between “churches” and other religious organizations. A church must have certain characteristics, according to IRS requirements, including: a recognized creed and form of worship; distinct ecclesiastical government; formal code of doctrine; ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study; established places of worship and regular religious services.