February 11, 2013

Housing Allowance for Ministers Employed in Parachurch Organizations


Can an ordained minister who once worked for a church and now works for a non-profit receive a housing allowance from the non-profit?


"To qualify for the special tax provisions available to ministers, an individual must be a 1) “minister” and 2) must perform services “in the exercise of his ministry” (our emphasis). This quote begins an important section in the Minister's Audit Technique Guide on the Internal Revenue Service website.

Our experience has been that each parachurch organization and its employees offer unique twists on the interpretation of the above two-part test. Individuals and organizations faced with these important classifications are best advised to seek professional assistance. Ministries interested in a personal consultation with us should post a blog inquiry to which we can respond.

Several good blog postings on the definition of a minister are provided below. Readers should follow the links provided to read the blog postings or read the Minister Audit Technique Guide section entitled "Who Qualifies for Special Tax Treatment as a Minister." (link above) to learn more about who qualifies as a minister of the gospel.

Definition of a Minister

Director of Christian Education: Is He a Minister?

Christian School Teachers as Ministers

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