2012 Taxes: A List of Miscellaneous Pastor Business Expenses

From moving expenses to personal computer expenses, there are a number of miscellaneous business expenses that pastors can deduct from their federal income tax liability when preparing their 2012 taxes. These include an array of church-related travel and transportation expenses, entertainment and home office expenses.

Here is a list of other expenses to keep in mind for tax preparation this year that is generally tax deductible.

Contributions to a Religious Organization

Contributions made by the pastor to the church are deductible as charitable contributions on Schedule A. If donations are required of the church leader, then these donations are deductible as fees and membership dues on Schedule A.

Business Gifts

Pastors can deduct up to $25 per individual for business gifts to any amount of individuals a year as long as the gifts are church related.


Unreimbursed costs of special church-related clothing required to perform the pastoral duties of the church are deductible. A regular suit worn while preaching can’t be deducted but the cost of vestment robes can be a deduction on 2012 taxes.


Basic telephone charges are not considered a business expense, however, church-related long-distance calls, installation of a second line or special equipment or extra services like call waiting and call forwarding are considered deductible if used for church duties. Cell phones, like personal computers, can be depreciated as five-year recovery property if it is used more than 50 perfect for church-related business.

Personal Computers

Similar to cell phones when considering tax preparation, personal computers owned by a pastor and used more than 50 percent on behalf of the church can be depreciated as five-year recovery property or deducted under Section 179 up to the annual limit.

Housing and Moving Expenses

Expenses such as mortgage interest, fees, closing costs, appraisal costs and legal fees are all considered deductible during the year that they were incurred. In addition, non-reimbursed moving expenses are also deductible. Certain moving expenses reimbursed by the church can be excluded from the pastor’s gross taxable income.


Meal and entertainment expenses are deductible if they are ordinary, necessary and directly related to pastoral duties. If a pastor takes a church guest out to dinner, 50 percent of the guest’s meal is deductible and 50 percent of the amount that is over what would normally be spent on dinner for the pastor’s meal is deductible.

These are generally tax deductible expenses on 2012 taxes for pastors; however, it’s always a good idea to check with a tax preparation professional to ensure the most accurate information.