The following is not legal advice but only my general knowledge and assumptions that may be helpful to your CPA or legal counsel who should do their own due diligence.
501(c)(3) is the codification of the 1954 Johnson Amendment to ban non–profits from political activity, with other restrictions added on over the years. For many years churches have routinely subjected themselves to C3 registration without knowing they are actually exempt by IRS law.
Getting free from the C3 grip presumably requires a change in the church bylaws to specifically invoke the 26 US Code Section 508(a,c)(1)(A) and to advise the IRS of the change in status. The bylaws are usually the centerpiece of the organizational filing in the state where the church is headquartered. Be advised, there may be a formal withdrawal process required by the IRS for those already registered as a C3. I haven’t researched it, because I formed my First Century Bible Church here in Tennessee from scratch, adding an express, one sentence invocation of 26 US Code Section 508(a,c)(1)(A) in my organizational filing.
26 US Code Section 508(a,c)(1)(A) is a little known IRS code section that has been the law of the land since the 1960s — so well hidden-in-plain-sight and NEVER mentioned by the IRS itself, that even Christian lawyers have not realized its availability as a MANDATORY CHURCH EXEMPTION to 26 US 501(c)(3) registration for those who invoke it.
26 US Code Section 508(a,c)(1)(A) reads in pertinent part:
“Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations:
(a) New organizations must notify Secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status. — Except as provided in subsection (c)… (c) Exceptions. — (1) Mandatory exceptions. — Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to — (A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.”
Presumably, any church at any time can escape the clutches of the IRS and all of its restrictions that are designed for regular non-profit organizations by amending its organizational documents at the state level to specifically invoke this law.
Enemies of the People: By separating the portion of the law exempting churches from 501(c)(3) registration all the way over in Section 508, and never informing churches of their right to mandatory exemption in the C3 application process, the culpable government officials arguably committed serious civil rights abuses against Christians that became systemic over decades. But their malfeasance is now exposed and the truth is out!
SPREAD THE WORD — THIS OFFERS ALL CHRISTENDOM IMMEDIATE LIBERATION FROM THE NUMBER ONE CONSTRAINT ON CHURCH FREEDOM — THE 501(c)(3) ENSLAVEMENT OF CONGREGATIONS TO THE NON-BIBLICAL CHURCH CORPORATION STRUCTURE, REPORTING REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS ON POLITICAL AND OTHER ‘BANNED’ ACTIVITIES — WHICH HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A VIOLATION OF THE ‘ESTABLISHMENT’ AND ‘FREE EXERCISE’ CLAUSES OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT .