Avoid Classifying Employees as Independent Contractors

Q. Can churches classify paid workers as independent contractors to avoid paying FICA or withholding income taxes from them? A. No. Churches cannot classify paid workers as independent contractors in an effort to save money. They must follow the law. For a non-clergy employee, the church generally must withhold income and FICA (Social Security and…

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Reporting taxable perks for pastors – Q&A

Question: Our pastors are allowed to charge their gym memberships on the church credit card. Is there a specific box on the W-2 where this is reported? Answer: No. The full fair market value of gym memberships is taxable and reportable on the pastor’s W-2s as wages in Box 1. 

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FLSA Changes: Updating Your Policies and Practices

Have you reviewed your policies and practices in light of the upcoming overtime changes? Reclassified employees may have to follow procedures and policies that didn’t apply to them before—or that you didn’t have. Changing habits can be a challenge, but changing those of your formerly exempt employees with respect to hours worked and tracked is…

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Church Responsibilities – I-9 Audit

In accordance with federal law, all individuals hired by the church are required to establish and certify their identity and right to work in the United States. Individuals employed in the United States are required to complete Section 1 of the Form I-9 no later than their first day of employment. This may be completed…

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Payroll Compliance – Form I-9

We receive a lot of questions about the I-9—the form used to verify the identity and employment authorization of all individuals hired for employment in the United States. Here are some of the most common: 1: How Should I-9s Be Stored? Separately. We recommend that you keep all I-9s in either a separate master file or…

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Are churches exempt from unemployment insurance?

Unemployment benefits are available to workers who lose their job involuntarily because of reasons out of their control and meet basic state law eligibility requirements. Unemployment benefits are administered at the state level and offer temporary financial help to workers who have lost their job and meet state law requirements. Most employers are required to…

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When does the I-9 need to be completed?

All new employees must complete Section 1 of Form I-9 on or before their first day of employment. Then, within three business days of their start date, they should submit acceptable proof of their identity and eligibility to work in the United States.  As the church, you should complete Section 2 within those same three…

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Employee Expense Reimbursements

The compliance and financial risks of mishandling employee expense reimbursements have spiked in recent years. And the IRS is in the middle of a wide-ranging audit crackdown on employment-tax issues. Would your books survive an IRS spot-check? Do you know which reimbursements for employee expenses should be treated as expenses … and which as compensation?…

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Payroll Alert

Question An employee suffered a house fire and lost everything. We gave her $5,000 to help her reestablish her household. Is this emergency assistance taxable? Answer Yes. If the employer’s payment is a gift, it’s taxable and must be included in gross income. The payment is reported on Form 1099-MISC as other income. When you need fast,…

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How do we pay nonexempt staff for after-hours communications?

Generally, non-exempt employees are paid hourly. We recommend instructing non-exempt employees to track all their time worked and prohibit working off the clock. Churches may use any timekeeping method they choose as long as it’s accurate and capturing all the required information (see below). For example, you may use a time clock, have a timekeeper keep track…

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