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Excess Housing Allowance Expenses-Can They Be Carried Over to Next Year?

Question:

A pastor decided to upgrade his kitchen but did not modify his housing allowance for that year. Can he use those expenses in figuring the upcoming year's housing allowance?

Answer:

Since the upgrades were made in the current year, the expenses will be included in the current year's housing allowance calculation, and cannot be taken out of the next year's housing allowance. When determining the housing allowance for any given year, it is important that the pastor consider any new additions. A quote from the link provided below helps explain this situation:

“A housing allowance must be included in the minister’s gross income in the taxable year in which it is received to the extent that such allowance is not used by him during the taxable year to rent or otherwise provide a home or exceeds the Fair Rental Value of the home including furnishings and appurtenances such as a garage and the cost of utilities.” Ministers Audit Techniques Guide

Since there is generally no consequence for overestimating a housing allowance allocation of one's ministry compensation other than being required to report the excess as taxable compensation, it is usually best to anticipate potential projects such as the one cited in the Question.

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