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UM group ruling process made fast, easy and efficient

Image courtesy of Finance and Administration
Image courtesy of Finance and Administration

The General Council on Finance and Administration is the central organization for the United Methodist group ruling. The group ruling allows United Methodist entities to be recognized as 501(c)(3) organizations without having to apply directly to the IRS.

Being a 501(c)(3) organization provides many benefits, including exemption from paying federal income tax and allowing the organization (church) to receive donations that are deductible to the donor. To apply for inclusion in the group ruling or to receive an updated letter, United Methodist organizations should visit

The application process for churches, districts, and annual conferences is now an automated, rather than paper-driven, process. Since 2015, when the process became automated, the Legal Services Department has received more than twice as many annual requests for inclusion than before the process was automated, with over 2,500 requests projected for this year. The automation process significantly shortens the turnaround time for churches needing a letter.

The application process for churches takes under 10 minutes to complete. If no edits are needed to the parts of the application that are automatically completed, a letter will be immediately generated at the end of the application process. The organization will have immediate access to view and the capability to print all documentation.

The “Frequently Asked Questions” section helps with common issues organizations deal with around the group ruling. This may speed up your process by eliminating the need to call in and get basic questions answered.

If, however, you experience a problem and need assistance, email us at [email protected]. We will be happy to help.

PLEASE NOTE: To ensure a smooth process, please do not leave a comment in the comment section unless the top half of the application needs to be corrected. When an organization leaves a comment, the process is paused. A staff member reviews all comments and makes any necessary edits before a letter is issued.

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Originally published by the General Council on Finance and Administration.