All Questions

Nonprofits and Religious Entities

Q: I am trying to find out if a 501(c)(3) is a “religious entity” for ADA purposes (i.e., accommodations in a day care). I am having no luck. Is there a place to look  on tax forms or such that would answer this question of if they are a “religious entity” for ADA purposes?

A: No, there is no place on a form that indicates if a nonprofit is a religious entity exempt from Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). When trying to determine whether it is a religious entity or not under the ADA, the key is to look if the nonprofit in question is directly controlled by a religious entity. Some organizations rent space from religious entities, operating a private daycare out of a church, synagogue, or mosque for example. Such places are covered by Title III even though they are physically housed in a religious entity.

There are also occasions where a religious entity controlled an organization, but over the years that organization has become independent but retained the original name (possibly conveying a religious affiliation). Those organizations are, in fact, covered by the ADA.

So, it boils down to a matter of the control of the operation of an organization to determine its status under the ADA.

To learn more, read the ADA National Network fact sheet Religious Entities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act.


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