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WEBINARS ON CHURCH & MINISTER TAX ISSUES


The following is copied from The Christian Standard enewsletter for 12/12.

Making correct IRS filings and minimizing taxes are important issues for ministries nationwide to consider early in 2011. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) will host live webinars Jan. 12 and Feb. 23 in which leading experts will discuss IRS requirements for congregations and tax changes for clergy.

Participants in Jan. 12’s “Congregation Filing Issues for 2010 Data” webinar will learn how to correctly fill out IRS filings required of nearly every U.S. congregation. The requirements start with Form W-2, and–for many congregations–include various versions of Form 1099.

Participants in Feb. 23’s “Clergy Tax Issues for 2010 Returns” webinar will learn about the multiple changes clergy must consider to file accurate income tax returns and to minimize tax. The webinar provides updates on 2010 changes and reviews what clergy can expect for the 2011 tax year.

For more information visit www.ecfa.org.

As a church treasurer, I will definitely plan to take part in the Jan 12 session. If I were a minister, I would want to be in the 2/23 session. Laws do change – tax laws change almost yearly. What you could do last year may not be correct this year.

There is a $49 charge for each of these hour-long sessions. I’m happy to pay this, as it will save the church a CPA’s fee for filing our tax papers and reports.

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4 Responses

  1. I am sort of surprised to see this being something that you would want to or need to attend. How can a congregation of the Lord submit to being a state church and file any of these forms, especially when we are to have no “clergy”? Even when you go through the IRS publications, it is pretty clear that by their guidelines, most churches of Christ do not even qualify as “churches.”

    • Sam,
      Everyone or every organization who pays another person a salary or fee for services rendered may be responsible for informing the government of the amount and nature of the payment. This includes individuals (who must report monies paid to maids, baby-sitters, etc. when it exceeds certain amounts). Though churches are generally exempt from paying taxes themselves, they are still responsible for reporting money paid to others. It is these issues, which are often ignored (usually through ignorance by many churches) that will be addressed in the webinar I will be participating in. The other mentioned is one for ministers who receive compensation. There are special rules that apply to ministers. In some respects they are treated as employees; in other respects they are treated as self-employed persons. There are also rules that apply to provision of a parsonage or housing allowance plus regulations regarding professional expenses that are similar, but not identical, to those applying to others who have job-related expenses whether reimbursed or not by the employer.

      The need to “give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” is why I will participate in this seminar.

      Jerry

      • Jerry, when I read the IRS publications regarding “ministers” and “churches” I do NOT see evangelists of, or the New Testament church of our Lord itself, identified in these publications: I see denominations with “ordained ministers” and heirarchies” and degrees in theology and government-created organizations, not the pure and simple Gospel and the church.
        If the church is the Lord’s, and evangelists and elders are (as Paul said) slaves of God, I don’t see where ANY of this is “Caesar’s” and should be given to him or anyone who claims to have replaced him. I don’t think we can have it both ways, do you? Either the church is God’s or it is under the control, the rule, of the state. “No man can serve two masters.” Didn’t Someone important once say that? Perhaps He wasn’t as important or as powerful as the state?

  2. Sam,
    The same one who said, “No man can serve two masters” also said “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.” If that is having it two ways, so be it – for the one who said both is the one whom I serve.

    As long as we are in this world, we must interact with it – and becoming disobedient to the powers that be is not the way we are taught by our Lord to interact with it. The exception to this is when their laws directly conflict with the laws of God.

    In the things you mention, even the IRS makes provision for congregational churches, such as the Lord’s church. It is those provisions that we need to make sure we get “right” – in both legal and Scriptural ways.

    Jerry

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