Clergy

Employees often use their personal cell phones for church business. The church requires that they submit monthly expense reports and they’re reimbursed through an accountable plan. The church board wants to ditch the paperwork and just pay flat-dollar allowances to employees every month. Would that be...

The allowance must be officially designated in advance by the church. The designation should be stated in writing, preferably by resolution of the governing body and/or in an employment contract. In addition, the designation should be recorded in the church budget and payroll records. If the only reference...

When Steve Dawson first started working with churches more than two decades ago, much of the accounting work was still being done by hand. Churches were just starting to use computers for spreadsheets and bookkeeping software. Not everyone was convinced that was a good idea, said...

Episcopal News Service - In the latest installment in a nearly decade-long effort to have the Internal Revenue Service’s clergy parsonage exemption declared unconstitutional, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled just the opposite. A three-judge panel said March 15 that the principal effect of the...

When the United States began, most pastors lived in church-owned parsonages, and the US carried over the common European practice of not taxing that as income. The basis of the housing exclusion from taxable income is deeply rooted in our nation’s tax history. In 1954, the...

Determining the correct social security tax for clergy is often confusing. Clergy pay social security tax under the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA), not under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Clergy engaged in the exercise of ministry are always treated as self-employed for social security tax purposes. A congregation should...