Skip to main content

Unreimbursed Minister's Expenses

Question:

A church has an accountable plan in place to reimburse its minister for business expenses. Unfortunately, the church often does not have the funds available to reimburse its minister at the end of the year. How can it address this issue?

Answer:

The easy answer for the church is to simply reimburse as much as possible; the minister could then deduct any unreimbursed expenses on Form 2106 for federal tax purposes. However, there are two difficulties for the minister in this scenario:
  • Unreimbursed business expenses for an employee can only be deducted on Form 2106, which flows through to Schedule A. Schedule A deductions only benefit a taxpayer who itemizes rather than taking advantage of the standard deduction.
  • Also, unreimbursed business expenses are only deductible to the extent they exceed 2% of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI). For instance, a taxpayer with $50,000 of wages and no other deductions would have an AGI of $50,000, and could only deduct on Schedule A unreimbursed employee business expenses over $1,000 (2% of $50,000).
A better alternative would be for the church to reconsider the minister's compensation package. To provide an attractive salary but no reimbursement for expenses is not as satisfactory as providing reimbursement for expenses, then considering adequate compensation. For example, a church that pays its minister $20,000 but reimburses none of his $2,000 in business expenses is essentially paying him $18,000, while he is taxed on $20,000 if he is not able to itemize. However, if the church builds $2,000 for reimbursement into his compensation and pays him $18,000 in salary, he will only be taxed on $18,000, as he should be.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Qualified Small Employer HRAs

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, allowing qualified small employers to offer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) that follow certain terms.

After the Affordable Care Act was passed, the IRS originally determined that an HRA was not a qualified group health plan. The Cures Act overrules this decision. HRAs are again an option for qualifying small employers.

To be eligible, the small employer must have fewer than 50 employees and must not offer a group health plan to any of its employees.

The Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) must be subject to the following terms.
No salary reduction contributions may be made (i.e., 100% employer-funded).Employer must receive proof of employee’s minimum essential coverage.Reimbursements must be for qualifying medical expenses.Reimbursements for any year cannot exceed $4,950 (or $10,000 for family coverage), which will be adjusted annually for inflation.Employer must offer the …

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 …

Revised Form I-9 Released

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a revised Form I-9. All new hires after January 21, 2017, must complete the revised Form I-9. All prior released versions of Form I-9 will be invalid for new hires.

Employers are required to have a completed hard copy of Form I-9 on file for each employee. Current employees do not need to re-complete the revised form.

More information on Form I-9 can be found on the USCIS website.