Skip to main content

Taxability of Love Offering to Former Pastor

Question:

A church's pastor resigned a few months ago. Since then he has not been able to find work. The church took a love offering to help him with expenses. Does the church have to take taxes out of this offering since the pastor is no longer part of the church? Would the answer be different if the congregation took up a love offering for someone else in the community?

Answer:

Benevolent gifts to individuals in the local community (not an employee of the church), are generally disbursed by churches from benevolent funds received by the church to disburse to needy individuals. Since these individuals have not provided nor are expected to provide services in exchange for the gifts, these gifts are non-taxable. For more on benevolent fund giving, type "benevolent fund" in the search window above.

Love offerings collected on the behalf of a current or former employee in consideration of past services provided are taxable compensation. Similar to compensation to the pastor while he was in the church's employ, no taxes are to be withheld from this compensation. As a dual-status individual, he is responsible for self employment and income tax payments.


There may be a possible exception to tax ability if the resigning pastor is actually entering retirement.

The Minister Audit Technique Guide says:
"There are numerous court cases that ruled the organized authorization of funds to be paid to a retired minister at or near the time of retirement were gifts and not compensation for past services. Rev. Rul. 55-422, 1955-1 C.B. 14, discusses the fact pattern of those cases which would render the payments as gifts and not compensation."

Rev. Rul. 55-422, 1955-1 C.B. 14 discusses the result of cases in which a minister received a gift from his church after retirement. The court ruled it was a nontaxable gift because the pastor had been "adequately compensated for his past services," and "the recipient did not undertake to perform any further services for the congregation and was not expected to do so."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Housing Allowance and Form 1099-MISC Reporting

Question:

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?

Answer:

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…

Review: Form 1099 Payments to 501(c)(3) Organizations

Question:

A church rented space from another church last year. Should it request a completed Form W-9 and issue Form 1099-MISC?

Answer:

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:

Form 1099 for Payments to Other Ministries
Form 1099 for Non-profit?
Fo…

Gifts Paid Out of Church Funds: Form 1099-MISC Requirements

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 …