Unless you have a full-time staff with a knowledgeable attorney, it can be very time-consuming. I, too, am in New Jersey and my church needs just a letter from the IRS stating that we are 501(c)(3). Now except for far out (I call them California) religions, all churches implicitly have that status, and we do. As treasurer, I need never file anything for the IRS even though we accept donations for religious purposes. But for soliciting contributions from some organizations, we need a letter from the IRS saying we are a 501(c)(3). We are all volunteers, but we got all the forms, and I produced many of the required reports. We also have access to a suitable attorney who will not do the work for free, but will review out work to ensure it is OK. There is a considerable fee payable to the IRS just to get the letter. We have been at this for about 5 years, but as our volunteers turn over, we must often start over near the beginning. And after a year, the required reports must be re-done. I suspect a full-time staff could do this in a year or so, but we will never have a staff.And all this just to get it in writing that we are a 501(c)(3) outfit.
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