What is Honoraria?

The dictionary defines honoraria as “a payment given for professional services that are normally rendered without charge” or “a payment in recognition of acts for which custom or propriety forbids a price to be set”. This would include payments made for things like weddings, baptisms, funerals, pulpit supply or speaking engagements. In most situations, it…

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Getting a Second Opinion on Clergy Taxes

Clergy taxes are an extremely narrow niche of tax law, so many generalist tax companies and software packages are not familiar with the rules. On top of this, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act drastically changed the way that members of the Clergy can claim expenses. If you didn’t file with Clergy Financial Resources, it’s…

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Top Ten Tips for 1040s

Here are ten tips to avoid errors when filing your 1040 returns. Math and typing errors- Using tax software or a tax firm to prepare your return greatly reduces the chances of mathematical errors, but it is still easy to transpose digits while doing data entry. Even if you have someone prepare your return, check…

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Crowdfunding for Churches

Crowdfunding is a relatively new way to gather donations from others for things like mission trips. Well known examples of crowdfunding websites include “Gofundme”, “Kickstarter” and “Patreon”. Since it is so new, there is not a lot of official IRS guidance on the subject. According to an IRS letter published in 2016 (which you can…

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Church-Owned Parsonages- Don’t Forget the Fair Rental Value and Utilities!

Members of the Clergy who live in church-owned parsonages get to exclude the fair rental value of their home and utilities paid by the church from their income when calculating income tax. However, they must add these amounts back into income when calculating self-employment taxes. This can come as a surprise to those who have…

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Hobbies versus Businesses

Many of us engage in arts or crafts, but when do you have to start reporting your work as a business to IRS rather than a hobby? The key feature that sets a business apart from a hobby is that a business is done in order to make a profit. The IRS will generally treat…

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Understanding Clergy W-2 Forms

In many smaller churches, the person in charge of preparing payroll or preparing W-2 forms is not always a payroll expert. They may not understand the complexities of clergy tax law or how compensation should be reported on the form. To help, Clergy Financial Resources has prepared a sample Clergy W-2 for reference, which you…

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Are clergy subject to W-4 withholdings?

Filling out and submitting a Form W-4, the Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, enables your church to withhold the correct amount of federal income tax for non-clergy compensation. Using the form, you calculate the number of allowances that you can claim on your taxes by totaling your dependents, deductions, and adjustments to withholding. Calculating the correct number…

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I inherited a house. Do I have to pay the estate tax?

In most cases, the answer is no. While you may hear complaints about the “estate tax”, most Americans will never pay it. In 2019, the total assets of an estate have to be over $11,400,000 dollars before any estate tax is owed. Eleven Million Dollars! There is some confusion because there is an “estate tax”…

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Donating your RMD to Charity

When you reach 70 ½ years old, you must start taking Required Minimum Distributions (or RMDs) from your IRA. This can’t be helped… but did you know that you could donate your RMD to charity instead of receiving the income? IRS allows for an otherwise taxable distribution from an IRA (other than an ongoing SEP…

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