Non-Qualified vs. Qualified Church-Controlled Organization

What is a QCCO and a Non-QCCO?

Qualified church-controlled organizations (“QCCO”) and non-qualified church-controlled organizations (“non-QCCO”) are terms that the IRS, Department of Labor, and PBGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) use to classify church-controlled organizations. It is very important to determine the status of your organization as each classification has rules for administering 403(b) plans and retirement contribution limits.

Use the below guide to find out if your organization is a QCCO or a non-QCCO.


QCCO generally refers to a church-controlled 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that:

  1. does not generally offer goods, services, or facilities for sale to the general public; or

  2. receives less than 25% of its financial support from government grants or receipts from goods and services in related activities or business.

Examples of QCCOs are seminaries and General Assembly agencies and entities. Churches, and church-related primary and secondary schools, though not technically QCCOs, have to follow the same rules as QCCOs.


Non-QCCO generally refers to any church-controlled, tax-exempt organization described in Code Section 501(c)(3) that:

  1. offers goods, services, or facilities for sale, other than on an incidental basis, to the general public, other than goods, services, or facilities which are sold at a nominal charge which is substantially less than the cost of providing such goods, services, or facilities; and

  2. normally receives more than 25% of its support from either (a) governmental sources or (b) receipts from admissions, sales of merchandise, performance of services, or furnishing of facilities, in activities which are not unrelated trades or businesses, or both.

Examples of non-QCCOs are church-affiliated hospitals, universities, children’s homes, and retirement housing facilities.

Non-QCCOs, like QCCOs and churches, are qualified to participate in church plans. However, non-QCCOs must comply with the universal availability requirement and code sections 401(a)(4), 401(m), and 410(b). These requirements are not applicable to churches and QCCOs.

Servant Solutions is able to help you determine and meet the requirements of your ministry’s proper organization status.