The Church Accountable Reimbursement Plan is intended to assist local churches and organizations in establishing and maintaining accountable reimbursement policies for their clergy and staff. Also, at the end of this document, there are some examples of proper and improper expense reimbursements, plus a Q&A summary.
It is in the best interests of the church and its staff to have in place an accountable reimbursement policy to pay for the business expenses that are necessary to do the ministry of the church. These policies are simply a method for claiming and reimbursing professional or business expenses rather than providing an expense allowance.
Non-accountable and allowance plans do not meet the current IRS regulations and you are required to report these amounts as taxable income.
There are several advantages to using an accountable reimbursement policy. (a) Convenience: Staff reports the business expenses to the church and not to the IRS - this means that none of the expenses are reported on Forms W-2 and there is no need to worry about IRS forms or calculating deductions. (b) Data: It gives the church an accurate account of the “cost” of ministry and allows members to understand the financial support necessary for staff to do their work well. (c) No complex rules: the Deason rule does not apply (it otherwise requires clergy to reduce the deduction for business expenses proportionately if they have a tax exempt housing allowance). (d) Fewer limits: Certain limits on business meals are avoided. (e) Tax savings: It takes the place of Schedule C and may save on taxes.
It’s as easy as this. All you need is this written policy.
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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 13 March, 2007.