What is the difference between standard and itemized deduction

It’s a good idea for people to find out if they should file using the standard deduction or itemize their deductions. Deductions reduce the amount of taxable income when filing a federal income tax return. In other words, they can reduce the amount of tax someone owes. Individuals should understand they have a choice of…

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8 questions about employee expense reimbursements

The IRS knows full well how lax a lot of employees are about documenting their expenses—and how often churches let it slide. We have collected a handful of recent questions that may be helpful to your church. Q. If an employee uses a personal credit card for a ministry purchase, is there a time limit…

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Q&A – The rules for cellphone reimbursement

Q: “When it comes to reimbursing employees or providing a monthly stipend for the use of their personal cellphones for ministry purposes, is this a non-taxable fringe benefit?” A: Yes, provided that your reimbursement is reasonably calculated to actually reimburse the employees for the actual costs of maintaining the phone. Creating a policy for employee…

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Sample Letter Explaining the 2020 Form W-4 to Employees

Beginning in January 2020, there will be a whole new look for the W-4 form, which is where workers tell their employers how much money to take out — or withhold — from their paychecks for federal income taxes. The biggest change to the W-4 form is the removal of the allowances section. You’ll no longer…

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Employee Managment – Time Tracking

Question: Our employees often don’t turn their timesheets in on time. If an employee doesn’t submit his/her sheet on time, can we delay processing his paycheck until the next pay period? Answer: Getting employees to turn timesheets in on time can be challenging. It is the obligation of the church to pay employees on the…

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IRS Releases New Tax Withholding Estimator

The IRS has released an enhanced Tax Withholding Estimator that incorporates changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate. The new Form W-4 includes changes that can affect employees’ refunds or the amount of tax they owe. For example, income tax withholding is no longer based on the employee’s marital status and withholding allowances,…

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Who qualifies for “Clergy Status”

The employing congregation, denomination, integral agency of a denomination or a church, or religious organization is responsible to determine whether an individual qualifies as clergy status under the federal law definition. Having “minister” in the title or ministerial duties in a job description is not enough. The IRS uses the five criteria listed below to…

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Common Payroll Errors to Avoid

Let’s face it. Managing church payroll – and the avalanche of payroll regulations – means you’re under a lot of scrutiny, and you have to get it right. Each year sixty percent of the church W-2 forms are reported with errors. This is created by the lack of understanding of the reporting requirements of taxable…

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How do I report income that straddles two years?

With the end of 2019 approaching, we frequently receive questions about income split between different years. “My church is paying for my moving expenses. They gave me a two checks for $1,000. Can I wait to cash one or both until January 1st so the payments go on next year’s tax return?” “My Church was…

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FAQs on the 2020 Form W-4

1. Why redesign Form W-4? The new design reduces the form’s complexity and increases the transparency and accuracy of the withholding system. While it uses the same underlying information as the old design, it replaces complicated worksheets with more straightforward questions that make accurate withholding easier for employees. 2. What happened to withholding allowances? Allowances are no…

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