Clergy

The Affordable Care Act (also called ACA, federal health care reform or sometimes “Obamacare”) expands health coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans and makes significant changes to health insurance practices nationwide. The Health Insurance Marketplace is an online resource for comparing different plans and benefits...

The IRS has ruled that clergy are self-employed for purposes of paying social security taxes. This means that they must pay both the employee and the employer share of social security tax under the Self-Employed Contribution Act (SECA). Churches are prohibited from paying FICA tax for...

Incorrectly classifying someone as an independent contractor instead of an employee can be very costly for the church based on IRS penalties. When in doubt, your best bet is to classify someone as an employee. If you really want to classify an individual as an independent...

A minister who wishes to be exempt from social security/Medicare tax must file a Form 4361 with the IRS for approval. Before your application can be approved, the IRS must verify that you are aware of the grounds for exemption and that you want the...

Churches normally hire an interim minister for the time between the departure of a pastor and the calling of a new pastor or a “sabbatical interim pastor” when a pastor is granted sabbatical leave. Full-time, interim ministers are usually paid on the same scale as...

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...