A few years back, I taught a class at the Clergy Leadership Academy on the subject of clergy taxes. I know that there were more than a few pastors hoping to come away from that class fully equipped to file their own taxes. I’m sure they were disappointed when I led with this statement: “My hope isn’t that you will end up as clergy tax experts. Instead, I want you to end up as excellent clients of clergy tax experts.” Taxes are a profession, not a side hobby. You can’t just pick it up in a one-hour training.
Having worked with clergy taxes for 20 years, even I don’t feel competent to file taxes for clergy…and I teach the stuff! What I have seen and what I teach on is the basic principles that can protect you from expensive mistakes and help you not pay more than your fair share. This includes:
- Fundamental Problem with Clergy Taxes: There are a handful of significant ways clergy taxes differ from that of a regular employee. When you understand those, you’ll officially be smarter than Albert Einstein.
- Understanding the Housing Exclusion: How it works and what expenses can be written off.
- COVID Tax Credits: How the FFCRA and ERC tax credits can benefit clergy and churches.
- Most Important: A list of clergy tax experts that I know and trust.
- Church & Clergy Tax Guide: https://store.churchlawandtax.com/2021-church-clergy-tax-guide-pdf/
- Clergy Tax Estimator: https://www.dakotasumc.org/media/files/CONFERENCE/5_Conf_Finance_Benefits/Finance/Clergy_Tax_Estimator.xlsx
- Dakotas UMC Tax & Legal Resources: https://www.dakotasumc.org/finance-and-benefits/finance/legal-resources