How Does the IRS Contacts Taxpayers

Everyone should know how the IRS contacts taxpayers. This will help people avoid becoming a victim of scammers who pretend to be from the IRS with a goal of stealing personal information. Here are some facts about how the IRS communicates with taxpayers: The IRS doesn’t normally initiate contact with taxpayers by email. The agency…

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Ministers Defined by the IRS

When a church hires an employee, one of the initial decisions that must be made is whether to treat the worker as clergy, non-clergy employee or contractor. This decision may seem insignificant, but it has huge implications when it comes to payroll. Ministers have what is commonly referred to as “dual tax status.” For federal…

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Is a Pastor’s Retirement Gift Taxable?

Federal tax law requires all forms of compensation to be reported as taxable income unless specifically excluded by law. Gifts are one such exclusion. The question, then, is whether retirement gifts are taxable compensation for services rendered or tax-free gifts. This an­swer is not always clear. In a series of cases in the early 1950s,…

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Love Offerings: Taxable or Not?

Churches sometimes collect “love offerings” from the congregation for a pastor, visiting minister, volunteer, or staff member in recognition of services rendered. So, if a church takes up a love offering for one of its service providers, is it reportable as income on Form W-2. If the recipient is not a church employee, the income should…

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IRS Increases Annual Gifts Tax Exclusion

For starters, you can give gifts valued up to the annual gift tax exclusion amount each year without ever touching the lifetime exemption. For 2017, the exclusion was $14,000 per recipient. In 2018, it increased to $15,000 per recipient. The federal gift tax applies to the giver of a gift, not the recipient, for amounts…

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What type of housing expense records should clergy be keeping?

Ideally, clergy should keep careful housing expense records to determine whether expenses are greater or less than the annual designation. Records are also important for estimating a reasonable housing allowance for the next year. Original receipts, invoices, canceled checks, charge card records, etc. are all essential. To simplify record keeping, some pastors find it helpful to have one charge…

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Does your Church Want to Pay Tax on Employer Parking?

Churches and other historically tax-exempt organizations may need to file federal and likely state income tax returns according to a recently unearthed provision in the newly instituted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that applies the federal income tax to parking benefits. Hundreds of organizations are now calling for its repeal. Section 512(a) (7) addresses this new…

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Dos and Don’ts for Clergy Who Get a Letter from the IRS

Every year the IRS mails thousands of letters to clergy for many reasons. Here are some tips and suggestions: Don’t ignore it. Most IRS letters and notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice deals with a specific issue and includes specific instructions on what to do. Don’t panic. The IRS and…

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Is it really the IRS calling on your business?

Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee. The IRS initiates most contacts through…

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