Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations.
(a)New organizations must notify the secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status.
(1)Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b)shall not apply to
(A) churches , their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.
This is referred to as the “mandatory exception” rule. Thus, we see from the IRS' own publications, and tax code, that it is completely unnecessary for any church to apply for tax-exempt status. In the IRS' own words a church “is automatically tax-exempt”.
Churches are “automatically tax-deductible. ”
And what about tax deductibilty? Doesn't the church still need to become a 501(c)(3) so contributions to it can be taken as a tax deduction? The answer is NO! According to IRS Publication 526:
Organizations that qualify to receive deductible contributions.
You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. To become a qualified organization, most organizations other than churches or governments, as described below, must apply to the IRS. In the IRS' own words a church “is automatically tax-deductible”.