May 02, 2012

Missionary Support: Agency or Local Church


Independent missionaries are occasionally invited to our church for events. For the services provided, they are given honorarium. However, sometimes, the church mission board decides to provide one-time support for the missionary and the money is disbursed from the mission fund. Does this mean that the church has to assume the role of a missionary agency and require accountability and reporting for this sum of money in the following months?


A church that supports an independent missionary will need to issue him or her a Form 1099-MISC at the end of each year, reporting all distributions (assuming they amount to at least $600). This is not necessary for missionaries commissioned by or associated with recognized missions agencies and who receive W–2 or 1099 forms directly from their missions agencies. In order to issue a Form 1099-MISC, a church will need to know the missionary’s address and social security number. This information can be obtained by having the missionary complete and submit IRS Form W–9 prior to any distribution.

The members of my Federal Taxation I class at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin have taken on the challenge of study and research to answer posted questions. Jeremy Mattson of Green Bay, Wisconsin gets credit for this one.

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