Are we a mission society?

We head a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports missionaries and missions in other countries so during our annual preparations to file vital paperwork with the IRS, I discovered a clause in the IRS’s Form 990 and Form 990EZ instructions that indicated that we might not need to file since we’re a mission society. ┬áIt says:

A mission society sponsored by, or affiliated with, one or more churches or church denominations, if more than half of the society’s activities are conducted in, or directed at, persons in foreign countries.

We fit the category of sponsored by one or more churches and over half our activities are conducted in foreign countries so I set about trying to discover how the IRS defines a “Mission Society.” Continue reading