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Church Legal Center
Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA
2429 Central Avenue, Suite 207
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
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Recent Blog Posts

Church Loans to Directors, Officers and other Insiders

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Dear Clients and Friends, Have you ever attended a board meeting to consider loaning money to a church leader? Maybe he or she has a legitimate financial need. I understand you would think a ministry should be able to give a lending hand to a leader in need. But please step back and think… Read More »

Minister Receives 10 years in Prison for Embezzlement

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Yesterday, a former minister of Houston’s First Baptist church was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing $800,000.00 from his church. His theft spanned over a period of seven years. While I represent churches for embezzlement it never ceases to amaze me how it continues to happen. Often times this crime can be… Read More »

Safety of Religious Institutions Bills Moving thru Florida House and Senate

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Two important legislative bills are making their way concurrently through the Florida House and Senate which directly relate to churches, synagogues and schools. They are HB 403 and SB 1238. The Senate Bill SB 1238 authorizes a church, synagogue, or other religious institution to allow a concealed firearms licensee to carry a firearm on… Read More »

Church Receives Retroactive Property Tax Bill

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Over the years I have assisted church clients subleasing their property. Most Pastors do this as a way to help their revenues. But, as I have counseled, churches have to be very careful because of Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT), running afoul of Public Accommodation laws and also risking the church Property Tax Exemption. … Read More »

Contribution Statement Reminder

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Church Pastors, Treasurers and Administrators are busy this time of year preparing their general annual contribution statements for 2018. Please remember on your statement to include the name and address of the church and add the following phrase: “No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contribution, other than intangible religious benefits.”… Read More »

Florida Law Requires Certain Records be Available in Church Office

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Dear Clients and Friends: Florida law states you must maintain certain documents in your church office for review and copying. Do you know which documents are required? If not, here they are: 617.1601 (5) Corporate records.- “A corporation shall keep a copy of the following records: (a) Its articles of incorporation or restated articles of… Read More »

Hurricane Michael Assistance Information for Churches

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Many of our fellow churches are hurting and can use donations and governmental help. Regarding institutional help, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that private nonprofit houses of worship are now eligible for disaster assistance as community centers, without regard to their secular or religious nature. FEMA provides financial assistance, through its Public… Read More »

Guest Lecturer This Week at Southeastern University

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Honored to be invited back as guest lecturer at Southeastern University located in Lakeland, Florida. I will speak on “Current Legal Issues in Ministry” to their Senior ministerial and pastoral students. It is going to be fun!

Attorney General Announces Places of Worship Initiative

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Dear Clients and Friends, Recently the Attorney General announced a new initiative to protect houses of worship. Its focus is on protecting the ability of houses of worship and other religious institutions to build, expand, buy, or rent facilities-as provided by the land use provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act… Read More »

Church Loans to Board Members and Officers

By Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA |

Dear Clients and Friends, Occasionally I am asked to advise a church client desiring to loan money to a church leader who has a financial need.  You would think a ministry should be able to give a lending hand to a leader in need. But think again. The legal question is bifurcated between state… Read More »

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