I would like to register a Christian Church, who do I contact and how much will it cost and can you prepare all the documents that i need
Province: Gauteng Pretoria
Welcome, and thank you for your question.I'm afraid that we cannot prepare or file the application on your behalf. But I'll look into the matter to obtain the necessary details to enable you to take the matter further.I trust you find the above in order.Yours faithfully,
There is no time indicated when this answer will be ready. I need this information as soon as possible, so that I can start the process I have only a limited time to complete the process. The name for the church was approved in January but I have not been successful in obtyaining the correct information how to go about it that is why I turned to you for legal advice on the matter. Thanks
Thank you for your patience.
Often churches believe that they are required to register with the government. This is not the case. Churches were required to register in the past. Some churches may still have certificates of registration issued in terms of these old laws. Today, our constitution protects each individual's freedom of religion, belief, and association. Any group of people may gather together, worship, and practice their faith without informing the government or seeking its permission. However, a church may still choose to apply to one or more government departments in order to be eligible for the specific benefits indicated below.
1. Recognition of clergy as marriage officers
The state does not regulate religious marriage ceremonies. However, if a marriage is to be recognised by the state, it must conform to certain rules and must be performed by a licensed marriage officer. A church that wishes to have its clergy licensed as marriage officers must first apply to the Department of Home Affairs on behalf of the applicant(s). Thereafter, individual clergy will be licensed upon successful completion of an examination administered by the Department.
To apply, a church must write a letter to the Department with the names and identity numbers of the individuals who wish to become marriage officers. The letter should also identify the Home Affairs office nearest to each applicant where she or he will sit the examination. A church that has not previously had marriage officers appointed should also include a copy of its constitution.
2. Tax exemption
Until 2001, religious organisations were explicitly exempted from income tax. In 2001, a new tax system came into effect. This offers tax exemption to a generic category of "Public Benefit Organisations" (PBOs). In order to qualify as a PBO, an organisation must:
Forms EI 1 and 2 are available from SARS offices or from the SARS web site (see the "Public Benefit Organisations" page in the "Income Tax" section).
Organisations are no longer required to register with the government or obtain a fundraising number in order to raise funds. However, if you register with the Department of Social Development, you can get a certificate confirming that you are a Non-Profit Organisation.
In order to register, your constitution and financial practices must comply with the rules and standards specified in the Non-Profit Organisations Act (Act 71 of 1997). This includes a duty to report certain information to the Department on an annual basis.
Some people feel that registering gives churches and para-church organisations additional credibility by reassuring potential donors that they adhere to responsible financial policies and have accountable structures. Others argue that there are few benefits to registration.
If you wish to register, contact your local Department of Welfare and Population Development office and ask for a registration form or write to:
The Department can also provide you with a model constitution that includes language consistent with the registration requirements.
For more information on registering as a nonprofit organisation, call the Directorate for Nonprofit Organisations on (XXX) XXX XXXX. Forms and information are also available from the Department's web site.
4. Protecting a denominational name
A church may see registration as a way of protecting its name from being used or misused by others. For example, if conflict within a church prompts some members to breakaway, one or both groups may want to establish an exclusive right to continue to use the church's name. Protection of the denominational name can be achieve through registering the name as a trademark at the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro).
I trust you find the above in order.
I needed a clear direction how to register a church but the information I received was not what I wanted. It was information that I had already read from another website in South Africa concerning churches
My understanding of the law, as it currently stands, is that it is no longer necessary to register a church before you may begin you ministry. That is what I tried to convey in my answer above. Therefore, you may convene your congregation at any time and you will not be acting unlawfully.However, if you wish to register your church for a specific purpose, such as having your clergy registered as marriage officers, kindly clarify which type of registration you need advice on in order for me to take the matter further.Yours faithfully,
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