Clergy

From a personal income perspective, the first thing to understand is that the income tax code takes the position that any money paid to or for an employee is income unless specifically excluded by the tax code. In addition to a pastor’s base salary, there are...

A recent case in the for-profit world underscores the potential threat.   The News   “A company’s CFO is liable for its past-due employment taxes, a court says. He had control over the company’s bank account and oversaw all aspects of the firm’s operations and finances, including payroll, tax...

For employers, the Internal Revenue Code defines payroll tax obligations in two primary areas: (1) federal income tax withholding and (2) Social Security/Medicare tax withholding. The Code determines what income is subject to taxes and the related withholding of the taxes. Federal Income Tax Withholding   Ministers are...

Do you get paid an allowance for housing? Are you sure that it’s set up correctly? Double checking your housing allowance is an easy way to avoid annoying tax headaches later. In order to take a housing allowance, there needs to be proper documentation: A specific...

What benefits does your church offer its employees?   This question tends to pop up a lot in job interviews—often right after the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?”. And employee benefits are a fair thing to inquire about; most of us would like...

Ready-to-use resolution language for church board to set a clergy housing allowance in 2019 by Richard R. Hammar.   Editor’s Note: A resolution can only be applied prospectively, never retroactively. For a church to have a resolution in place for a specific calendar year, it needs to...

For purposes of U.S. tax law, churches are considered to be public charities, also known as Section 501(c)(3) organizations. As such, they are generally exempt from federal, state, and local income and property taxes. “Exempt” means they don’t have to pay these taxes. This is so even though...

The Internal Revenue Code provides an automatic federal tax exemption for churches. Some churches choose to file for formal recognition of tax-exempt status and some do not. The following questions may help a church to decide whether to file for tax-exempt status: • How large is the church expected to...

The Internal Revenue Code section 508(c) sets out that churches are automatically recognized as tax-exempt under 501(c)(3), and the IRS does not require churches to apply for tax-exempt status if they meet the following criteria: a distinct legal existence; a recognized creed and form of...

Clergy couples are limited to the equivalent of one housing allowance between the two incomes, providing they live in the same location. In this instance, clergy need to be mindful of the amount requested by each spouse in the annual housing allowance resolution. Generally, any expense to provide...