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Private & Public Benevolence

Many churches and charities engage in benevolence programs to assist people in need. Charities that provide benevolence should have a policy that guides them in deciding whom to assist, what kind of assistance to provide, and under what conditions to offer such assistance. Having a policy will help charities distribute aid objectively and provide a basis for appropriate government reporting.

 Certain benevolence payments may require social assistance reporting. To be eligible for the beneficial income tax treatment under law, gifts in support of the benevolence activities of a church must be gifts to the church for use in its programs. The donor may not designate an individual or family of his or her choosing to be the recipient of his or her generosity. That would be private benevolence. It is not appropriate for the church to act as a conduit for private benevolence.

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