The minister’s housing allowance has been challenged in court. There have been several challenges in recent years, but last month, Judge Barbara Crabb once again ruled the housing allowance as unconstitutional, favoring a religious group. As of now, it is anticipated that the order will be stayed, meaning it will not be enforced, pending appeals. Once the appeals are exhausted, the order would take effect. Obviously, this would take at least a couple of years.  Read More

Kat Jennings

This was a story told to us by another Tax Advisor that we promised to protect their privacy if they shared their story with us and allowed us to share it with our audience. Therefore, we are publishing this under my name and encourage your comments at the end of this blog post.

Read More

An ordained minister occupies a unique niche in the United States tax code, as he or she is a dual-status taxpayer. A minister is an employee for income tax purposes and is self-employed for social security and Medicare. This dual status has frequently been the source of confusion for both ministers, churches, and tax preparers. A complicating factor is that a minister may opt-out of social security and Medicare but that is a topic for another time.

It is proper for the church to issue a W-2 to the minister. A 1099-MISC is an incorrect treatment in this instance, although many churches do issue 1099-s to their ministers. Some churches do not fully understand their own tax-exempt status and do not give the minister any tax documents at year end. Obviously, this is also improper. Read More

A minister occupies a unique niche in the United State tax code. He or she is considered an employee for income tax purposes, but self-employed for social security and Medicare. In addition, a minister is eligible for a housing allowance that is not subject to income tax, and has the choice to opt out of social security and Medicare.

Because of this unique tax treatment accorded ministers, it is important that the individual be properly qualified as a minister in order to receive this that treatment. One is not classified as a minister just by claiming to be one. The IRS has not directly addressed the issue of who is a minister. However, five factors have emerged that must be considered:

1. The person must be ordained, licensed, or commissioned by a local church or Read More