Home Features It’s not compulsory you register your church with CAC- Barr Vincent @ PFN forum

It’s not compulsory you register your church with CAC- Barr Vincent @ PFN forum

by Church Times

 

 

By GBENGA OSINAIKE

A lawyer and legal adviser to the Lagos State chapter of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Barrister Tomi Vincent has said it is not compulsory for churches to register with Corporate Affairs Commission, pointing out however that if a church surrenders itself to the commission it must be ready to abide by all the dictates of the commission.

He made this remark on Tuesday January 30 at a programme organized by the Lagos Chapter of the PFN which held at the Jesus Evangelical Ministry off Allen Avenue, Lagos.

A tax consultant. Pastor Mrs. Yomi Adewale was also on hand to educate the pastors and founders of churches on their tax obligations.

Vincent who is known as the pastors’ lawyer said under the laws of Nigeria, people are free to gather and worship God the way they want. “there is no law that says you can’t gather and worship God. You are free to gather and serve God the way you want. But the moment you register your church with the CAC you cease to become independent in the sense that you become subject to the laws of the land.”

He said pastors should understand that they are no longer the owner of the church as it were, the moment they are registered with the CAC. “The moment you are registered you are no longer the owner of the ministry. The church is subject to the laws governing charity organisations. It is wrong for pastors to even think that government is victimizing the church because there are no separate laws for the church. It is the same law that governs non-governmental organizations that governs the church. So, if the church is a registered entity it must comply with all the laws of a registered entity.’

He said for instances, every registered entity with the CAC are expected to submit reports of their annual activity to the CAC. “If you have not been submitting reports of your annual activity to the CAC and you are a registered church organization you are running against the law of the land. You must submit annual reports and you are expected to comply with other directives like the payment of tax if your church is doing extra-church activities like school business etc.”

 

 

Bishop Sola Ore, PFN Chairman, Lagos Chapter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vincent who took time to educate the pastors on the need to keep abreast of what the law says noted that many pastors over the years have been jailed due to their ignorance of the law. He brought newspaper clippings of reports on pastors who were jailed due to their ignorance pointing out that pastors should not be in a hurry to stand as surety for anybody especially for people they cannot vouch for. “the challenge is that the reputation of the pastor is always on the line so pastors need to be careful in making recommendations and signing as sureties for people. They should not be eager to give approval for business deals using their churches as platforms because when such deals fail they will be liable.”

One of the striking elements of Vincent’s presentation is the way churches handle the issue of trustees. He said, “When you are a trustee of a church you are not suppose to be paid from the church money. Trustees are expected to be people who hold an organization in trust. They are not entitled to anything from the organization. So, if you are a trustee of your church and you earn income from that church you are doing the wrong thing. One day the arms of the law will catch up with you.”

While urging the church leaders to put their house in order, he said, “Times have changed. That nothing is happening now does not mean something will not happen. It will come to a time that government will start investigating and ensuring that the laws of the land are complied with”

He stated that churches can run away from these trappings if they are just a gathering of people who come together to fellowship. “sometimes the urge to register is born out of the need to be able to open an account in the bank. I am aware that some banks now offer services for organisations that are not  registered to open account. We can check with the banks. But the fact that we are registered makes us liable to government regulations.”

Pastor Adewale in her presentation took the pastors through the nitty gritty of tax stating emphatically that there is no law that says churches should pay tax. “Churches are not to pay tax but the pastors of the church who draw income from the church is expected to pay tax, his workers, I mean church workers who are paid salaries are expected to pay tax, the business arm of the church are also subject to tax. But the business of just gathering to worship God is not subject to tax. The government expects that the money that you raise in your church would be used to ensure the proper running of the church. But the moment the money is used for other purposes the law will come to play.”

She pleaded with the pastors to go for self-assessment before the March 31 expiration date in order to avoid problem with government. “Before now, tax enforcers have been sleeping. But now they are awake and they are determined to bring to book any person that is defaulting in tax payment. We are expected to be law abiding and follow what the law says” she stated.

Adewale who is a marriage counsellor and Barrister Vincent took time to answer many questions bothering on tax payment, the modalities and laws governing non-governmental organisations. The Secretary of the PFN, Rev Toyin Kehinde promised at the event that the PFN would organize more of such forum to enlighten the pastors on the need to comply with government laws.

Earlier the chairman of the body, Bishop Sola Ore stated that the PFN is a law-abiding organization. “We are a law-abiding body. And we want every member of this body to be law abiding. It is wrong to claim you are being victimized when you fail to obey the law of the land. We are ready to fight for you if we know that you are unjustly being treated. But when it is clear that you are not obeying the laws of the land it will be difficult for us to fight for you. That is why we have to bring in experts to educate us on government regulations and the need to comply with them.”

Related Posts

9 comments

Akinsanya Ibukun Stephen January 11, 2019 - 8:30 pm

Evening sir, please sir, my question is that, can a church lives without registering with the corporate affairs commission, I mean is their any implications with church is not registered

Reply
Gbenga Osinaike January 12, 2019 - 10:50 pm

That is exactly what Tomi Vincent stated in the interview. You can get in touch with him. His number at the end of the interview

Reply
Simon Momoh January 12, 2019 - 10:19 pm

Great delivery of information, but I felt that information need to be well circulated, for somany Nigerian pastors are victims, believing that when your Church is not registered you are not call.
What can you do for this information to be generally circulated across the federation, and is their any provision for any unregistered churches in case of government harassment, thanks
Apostle Simon momoh
Pfn zonal coordinator
IHIEVBE/Warrake zone, OWAN EAST LGA EDO STATE.

Reply
Folaranmi Da-silva April 15, 2020 - 7:30 am

Please, how do I get Tomi Vincent’s number sir?

Reply
Church Times April 15, 2020 - 10:34 am

0803 302 6306. Tomi Vincent number
+234 803 302 6306 for foreigners

Reply
Ikechukwu Phenon Pharez March 2, 2021 - 11:34 am

Quality expose by Bar. Tomi Vincent and the tax consultant, and timely too.
God bless you, in Jesus Holy name.
-Pastor PHAREZ.

Reply
Simon Victor October 2, 2021 - 10:51 am

Thank you very much sir because many things are really happening in the body of christ with this many people will understand how to go about the church and the government of the land

Reply
Olatunde Abraham June 30, 2022 - 3:20 pm

Am really blessed by this, i almost fall victim when i read about the advantage it was sweetened than the disadvantages, more grace to you.

Prophet Abraham olatunde
+2348149337692
Young prophet

Reply
Isaiah O Ayemere August 9, 2022 - 11:04 pm

Lovely, thanks a lot sir.
Can marriage be celebrated in a church that is not registered.
If yes what about valid certificate.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Verified by MonsterInsights