A church organization is a branch of a church, including a men's or women's group, a religious school, a mission society, or a youth group.
For tax purposes, a "church" refers to any organization claiming to be a church or any convention or association of churches. The word "church" includes temples, mosques, and other houses of worship. To be considered a church for tax purposes, a group must be part of an organized religion, must have a mission statement, and must be formally organized as a distinct legal entity. Certain characteristics are generally attributed to churches. They include:
- A distinct legal existence and religious history
- A recognized creed, form of worship, and literature of its own
- A definite and distinct ecclesiastical government including a formal code of doctrine and discipline
- An organization of ordained ministers, selected after completing prescribed courses of study
- Established places of worship with regular congregations, religious services, and/or religious instruction for members