Can A Television Network Be A Church? The IRS Says Yes

Flip on Daystar television at any hour of the day and you’ll likely see the elements of modern televangelism: a stylish set, an emotional spiritual message and a phone number on the screen soliciting donations.

Based in a studio complex between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and broadcasting to a potential audience of 2 billion people around the globe, Daystar calls itself the fastest growing Christian television network in the world.

The Internal Revenue Service considers Daystar something else: a church.


Over here, they would be taxed unless they had clever lawyers investing profits overseas as they would not qualify for tax free staus.

Our Catholic Churches are allowed to group under a Diocese to be registered as a single charitable organisation but the Diocese has to produce accounts every year to the Charity Commissioner. If the Church, or any other charity failed to produce accounts, could not demonstrate a charitable purpose or seemingly does not give enough to their cause, the Charity Commissioner will step in. The Commissioner takes control (freezing most of the expenditure) until all the facts are known and then either new Trustees are appointed with the Commissioners approval, consideration is given to handing it over to be run by another charity or the Charitable status is revoked (in which case they are taxed and not allowed to use gift aid*).

When the Plymouth Brethren wanted to be classed as a charity, they had a painful battle and by opening up, they managed it. They originally failed because they did not advertise their Services and could not prove that they contributed towards the community beyond their own members. It was a huge step for them.

Just thought I would put down what happens in the UK, just in case someone was interested.

  • Charitable donations from taxpayers are exempt from tax, so when I donate to the Church, I let the Church reclaim 28 pence for every pound I donate from the tax office. Alternatively, I can claim the money back and increase my donation to the Church but that is complicated and often used by big companies to avoid tax.*
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