This blog posts answers to questions given to us by ministers and others serving in Christian ministries advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also discusses other financial topics that those in gospel ministries face. We trust the information provided can be helpful to you.
Question: A church treasurer recently was handed a Form 4361 by his church's youth minister. It appeared to have been altered. Can the treasurer contact the IRS to get verification of the approval?
Regardless of the youth pastor’s success or failure to gain an exemption from self-employment (SE) tax on ministerial earnings (by virtue of his successful Form 4361 application), the church’s treatment of his wages is unaffected. By definition, a minister is a dual status employee. This means that he is considered self-employed for purposes of SE tax. He is not subject to nor eligible for FICA tax withholding and matching by the church. If he fails to pay his own SE tax on his personal return and it is determined by the IRS that he has no Form 4361 approval, he will be facing a very large tax penalty and interest assessment.
Our website provides an aid to preparing a church's Forms W-2. They are prepared in exactly the same way whether or not the pastor has opted out of SE tax.Select the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation entitled Church and Christian Ministry Compensation Concepts. by following the link provided here.
In one respect, our response could be, “don’t worry about it.” In another respect, our response could be, “Your youth pastor is making a terrible mistake. Whether in ignorance or in malice we cannot tell.”
Regarding a direct contact with the IRS to get verification of the approval, the IRS will not disclose private taxpayer information without authorization from the taxpayer.
A church provides its minister a housing allowance, but for other purposes it believes that it must report the full amount of compensation (including the non-taxable housing allowance portion) on Form 1099-MISC (in order to demonstrate the full earnings of the minister). If the church reports his compensation,including the housing allowance, on Form 1099-MISC as taxable income, will he be able to deduct his housing expenses somewhere else on the Form 1040?
This questions brings up a couple of issues. First, most ministers are properly classified as employees who receive Form W-2, not as independent contractors who receive Form 1099-MISC. On Form W-2, Box 1 for taxable compensation is reduced reflecting the church's designation of a portion of his pay as non-taxable. Then in Box 14, it typically reports as a memorandum item his additional non-taxable, housing allowance compensation. In the situation addressed in the question, this Form W-2 reporting may or may not a…
A church rented space from another church last year. Should it request a completed Form W-9 and issue Form 1099-MISC?
We have written similar blog posts on this topic in the past (listed below), but we figured it was a good time for a review.
Payments from one 501(c)(3) organization to another 501(c)(3) organization are not subject to Form 1099-MISC reporting. The 2015 Instructions for Form 1099-MISC state that "payments to a tax-exempt organization" are exempt from reporting a Form 1099-MISC.
The following are typical examples of payments of $600 or more by a church which are subject to reporting a Form 1099-MISC: Rent paid to an individual (non-corporation)Payments for services rendered by individuals who are not employees (e.g. janitorial service, facilities, snow removal, guest speakers)Support sent directly to missionariesHere are some similar blog posts that we have written in the past:
Question: A church gave a wedding gift of $1000 to a couple who are church members. No goods or services were provided by the couple in exchange for the gift. Is a Form 1099-MISC required? Answer: In the following answer, we assume that the couple are not employees of the church from whom the gift could not be viewed as compensation for their services. Also, the amount seems to be small enough to avoid any concerns of "private inurement."
Accordingly, no Form 1099-MISC is required. According to the 2017 IRS Instructions for Form 1099-MISC a Form 1099-MISC is only required for payment of goods or services. The requirements are as follows: "File Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, for each
person to whom you have paid during the year: At least $10 in royalties (see the instructions for box 2) or
broker payments in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest
(see the instructions for box 8); At least $600 in: 1. Rents (box 1); 2. Services performed by someone who is not your