MINISTER: FOR TAX PURPOSES
By Elaine Sommerville, CPA
Unlike any other employee, a minister creates special issues for the payroll functions of a church. These issues aren't intuitive in nature, so it's not uncommon for errors to occur in the payroll reporting of a minister's compensation package. One of the most confusing aspects of a minister's compensation package is how he or she will be classified when paying into the Social Security and Medicare system.
We read in 1 Timothy 3, “Now the pastor/minister is . . . not a lover of money.” (vs 2-3) So pastor, you don’t love money, but do you feel stressed out over it? Of course, you are supposed to manage it without ever talking about it. Yet 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says “Command those who are rich . . . not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provide us with everything for our enjoyment. Command they to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share. IN this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so tht they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
So yes the minister(s) is/are stressed because they have to give commands in areas where many have transferred their faith in God to faith in money.
Let’s work together to relieve this stress in your life and give you confidence about speaking the truth in love to others about money.
10 Personal Financial Myths for Pastors
- My housing allowance is exempt from taxation.
- I live in a pastorium so I can’t claim a housing allowance.
- A housing allowance is not confusing to my church members.
- I can write off all the mileage of my car because I am always on call.
- I am not an employee of the church.
- My church should give me a lump sum of money to pay benefits and salary.
- As a minister, I pay Social Security taxes like every other employee.
- A financial gift designated for me is not income – it’s a gift.
- My insurance protects me and does not affect my church’s witness.
- My church doesn’t want me to teach and preach about money.
Let’s talk about these myths and work together toward the truths of these issues.
Many ministers suffer in silence financially. DON’T — let’s work together to find solutions and build confidence in a plan structured with your faith at its core.