Forms

Questions regarding Tax form 4361

Hi, I came across your website while searching questions regarding form 4361. I have a question about section 4 and 5. I am ordained through 1 organization and employed for another. And section 5, I was ordained 1-13-2010 and never really took an income from my church until where I currently work now starting in 2013 so I can’t put 2 years down for the $400 + income. Will that cause a decline in my request for Social Security exemption?

Rev. Jason
Administration/Youth Pastor
Celebration First Assembly of God
==========================================
Hi Jason:

Thanks for the email! From what you’ve told… Continue reading

Ministers to Foreign Workers: How to Qualify for a Social Security Exemption

As a member of the clergy you are given the opportunity of exemption from Social Security taxes. Most working citizens are required by law to pay Social Security taxes on their income, however, pastors fall into a few specific groups of people that are exempt. If you are a credentialed minister, opposed to any form of public insurance due to religious beliefs, and are working at a tax-exempt religious organization, you may be exempt from paying Social Security taxes.

There are several groups of people that are eligible for Social Security exemption aside from pastors including foreign workers, students, and… Continue reading

Tax Preparation for Ministers: Self-Employed vs. Employee

The life of a pastor can be difficult yet extremely rewarding. They have been called to minister to others therefore they do what they can to ensure that they are prepared  for whatever situations they are faced with. Until it comes to minister tax issues. These are issues that they must deal with but usually aren’t prepared for.

Many minister tax issues are hinged on whether or not they are considered self-employed or an employee of their church. The difference between the two makes a big difference when it comes to yearly tax preparation, as well as how deductions… Continue reading

Determining Housing Allowance on Minister Taxes

There are a number of tax exemptions that ministers can benefit from as long as ministers are aware of these exemptions. One of the most common is a tax exempt housing allowance. All expenses for housing which includes furniture and maintenance can be deducted legally. Here is how to determine if you are eligible and how to go about it. 

Determine Eligibility

A minister is defined by the IRS as a person who is “duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church.” Religious employees that don’t have these credentials are not eligible for the housing allowance.

Deductions

Once… Continue reading

How to Make Sure Clergy Social Security Exemption is Approved

If they choose, clergymen are allowed social security exemption based on religious objections. However, in order for this to happen, they need to correctly fill out IRS Form 4361 in order to be exempt. It’s important that this form be filled out in an accurate and timely manner. Here are some tips on how to correctly fill out the form and reasons why it may be denied.

Unless they fill out a Form 4361 clergymen normally pay out social security taxes just like anybody else who is employed and earns taxable income. The IRS, however, allows church ministers to file… Continue reading

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… Continue reading

Pastors Taxes and Travel Expenses

Travel expenses can be a deductible expense when it comes to submitting yearly income tax for ministers. This applies to both self-employed ministers as well as ministers that are considered employees of their churches. It’s important to note, however, that deductions are treated differently based on whether pastors are considered self-employed vs. employees.

Travel expenses can be considered a business expense on pastors taxes and therefore deductible if they are run-of-the-mill expenses incurred while traveling for official pastoral duties only. Similar to other non clergy taxes, these expenses must come with a receipt and proper accounting records which include date… Continue reading

Tax Preparation for Pastors: Medical Insurance Deductions

Medical Insurance is a major factor when it comes to family finance whether you’re a member of the clergy or not. With always- increasing medical costs, the issue of medical insurance and figuring all possible deductions is essential.  In general, tax preparation for pastors can be somewhat complicated and oftentimes requires the assistance of a professional tax preparer. However, when it comes to rules concerning deductions for medical insurance, the rules are the same for pastors and clergy as they are for the general public. But just in case you’re wondering here are guidelines for medical insurance deductions if… Continue reading

Tutorial on How to File Income Tax for Ministers

Minister taxes are filed slightly differently than your average Joe due the way that they are paid for the services. Oftentimes ministers have dual tax status because they are considered to be employees and self-employed simultaneously. The IRS will not consider a person as a minister for tax purposes unless they can meet a certain number of requirements.

1. To find out what requirements need to be met to be considered a minister contact the IRS. Usually if a person can answer any of these questions in the affirmative then they are considered a minister.

Are you a licensed, ordained… Continue reading

How to Properly Prepare Form 4361

Ministers can request exemption from paying self-employment taxes which includes exemption from Social Security taxes. Exemption must be applied for using IRS Form 4361 which can be a bit tricky. Here are the steps to take in order to accurately and easily fill out and submit the form.

1. Download Form 4361 from the IRS website and enter the basic info requested in section 1 including your social security number.

2. Fill out the religious position description that best describes you in Section 2.

3. Enter the date you were ordained and/or licensed in Section 3. A supporting document must… Continue reading