Category Archives: Taxes

Housing Allowance Held Unconstitutional

As most ministers are aware, the Internal Revenue Code grants a “housing allowance” that excludes ministerial income from federal income taxation (not the self-employment tax) to the extent used to pay certain housing costs. This benefit has been a huge … Continue reading

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The Affordable Care Act, Churches, and Ministers

I’m sure that many readers have concerns about the application of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) to their church and to themselves as a minister or other church employee. I’m going to try to provide some answers here, but obviously … Continue reading

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Reader’s Question re Book Funds

I get emails – Our church, despite being 500-600 people doesn’t have a clear policy on a minister’s book fund. Do they get one? How much? Are the books theirs or the church’s? Do you have any thoughts/advice on this? … Continue reading

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Law: So You Want to Start a Church? Part 2

What do incorporation and filing for a 501(c)(3) ruling involve? To incorporate and obtain an IRS ruling of 501(c)(3) status is a substantial piece of work. Here are the steps: 1. Prepare articles of incorporation under the best available authorizing … Continue reading

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Law: So You Want to Start a Church? Part 1

I get this question quite a lot, and so I thought I’d answer in a post, as there are probably a lot of people who could benefit from the answer. I’m planning to start a new church. How do I … Continue reading

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Taxes for Missionaries: IRS Gives Grace for Failure to File an FBAR

A “United States person” is required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) if the citizen has a financial interest in or signature authority or other authority over any financial account in a foreign country, if the … Continue reading

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The Housing Allowance: Who Qualifies?

[This is an usually long post, but I couldn't think of a way to split it. It's a complicated topic.] For what ought to be a very simple concept, the housing allowance can be surprisingly difficult to apply in a … Continue reading

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The Housing Allowance: May a Female Children’s Minister Claim the Housing Allowance?

Increasingly, Churches of Christ are hiring women as “ministers” — typically as children’s ministers but also in other capacities. This gives rise to the question: May they claim the housing allowance? The Internal Revenue Code allows a “minister of the … Continue reading

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Taxes for Foreign Missionaries: Ireland

I get emails – Let’s say we raise $X a year and live in Ireland for about 330 days a year, what portion of that income do we pay Social Security on? What portion do we pay federal income tax … Continue reading

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Taxes for Foreign Missionaries: Foreign Bank and Financial Account Reporting

Foreign missionaries often maintain accounts with foreign banks or other financial institutions. Sometimes they maintain a working fund in a local bank. Sometimes it’s just a family bank account. Or maybe it’s an account for a church or charity that … Continue reading

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