INDIVIDUAL TAX SEMINARS

What you don’t know CAN hurt you.  Many people overpay their taxes because they’re afraid of being audited or because they’re ignorant of tax laws.  While our intent is not to teach everyone to become a tax preparer, we do want you to understand your own tax situation well enough to make sound decisions.  When you sign your tax return and file it, the IRS holds you accountable for its accuracy.  Therefore, you need to have confidence in your tax return regardless of whether you prepared it yourself or had a professional do it.

Our goal is to provide assistance to you in anyway we can – answering your questions, reviewing a return you’ve done yourself, or doing it for you.  Therefore, we’ll try to answer your questions during this seminar.


church TAX SEMINARS

We’ve been working with pastors and churches for many years and we’ve found there’s a great dearth of information and understanding of how tax laws apply to churches and their employees.  This is particularly true in smaller churches.  Typically, the treasurer is someone who can keep a checkbook fairly well but has had little training or experience with legal requirements.  Most church leaders hold their positions because of their spiritual maturity and background (which is a good thing) but have had little exposure to the law.  Unfortunately, they fail to realize that their actions could jeopardize the tax exemption of the church and even affect them personally.

In the meantime, pastors usually devote themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4 KJV) which is also a good thing.  They feel they were called to be pastors, not accountants, and so they leave the financial areas to deacons or other church leaders.  Therefore, you typically have pastors who are trusting the deacons to get it right, and deacons who are struggling to know how to get it right.

Thankfully, there are a number of resources available to help both pastors and deacons get it right.  Many of these are free and are available with the click of a mouse.

Our goal is to provide assistance to you in anyway we can – answering your questions, recommending resources, and guiding you through the maze of tax laws.  Therefore, we’ll try to answer the following questions during this seminar.


Giving

  • How should donations of property be handled?
  • Should you accept pass-through gifts?
  • Should designated giving be allowed?
  • How should contributions be documented?
  • What are the IRS giving rules?
  • What are the rules for giving to short-term mission trips?

Employee Compensation

  • What benefits are taxable?
  • How do you document housing allowances for pastors?
  • Are Christmas gifts taxable?
  • Can you give benevolent gifts to employees?
  • What is an accountable spending plan?
  • Should pastors pay FICA?
  • Are holy land trips taxable for pastors?
  • When should 1099-MISC forms be issued?

Pastors

  • Are pastors self-employed or employees?
  • What is the definition of a minister?
  • What kind of record keeping is the pastor required to submit?
  • Is it permissible to have different employee groups?

Clergy Tax Seminars

In Acts 6, the apostles were being distracted from their ministry by a problem with the distribution of food to the widows.  They asked the church to appoint some godly men to oversee that ministry so they could give themselves “continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4 KJV).  That was a commendable solution to the problem.  However, many members of the clergy today devote themselves so completely to the ministry that they ignore their own stewardship responsibilities.

While it’s not our intent to train pastors to calculate and file their own tax returns (although it’s possible), we feel that a pastor should sufficiently understand what’s required on his tax return to know whether it’s accurate since he is considered responsible by the IRS for that return.  There are a number of things such as dual status and housing allowance which make clergy tax returns much more complicated than the average individual tax return.

To be a good steward of the resources God has given him, a pastor needs to understand what’s allowable under tax laws and keep the proper records.  He also needs to be able to guide his church to do things in a way that’s beneficial for him and the church.

Our goal is to provide assistance to you in anyway we can – answering your questions, reviewing a return you’ve done yourself, or doing it for you. Therefore, we’ll try to answer the following questions during this seminar.


Philosophy

What does the Bible say about taxes?
Is it biblical to use tax laws to your advantage?
What is the definition of a minister?
What does dual status mean?
Is a minister an employee or self-employed?
Should you opt out of social security?
Are benefits better than salary?

Income & Deductions

Are honorariums taxable?
Are special offerings for pastors considered taxable income?
How should a housing allowance be calculated?
What are double deductions?
Can housing allowance be a part of retirement income?
How do you calculate EIC (earned income credit)?

Expenses

What business expenses can be claimed?
What is the Deason rule?
What is an accountable spending plan?
What record keeping is required for:

  • A church credit card?
  • Accountable spending plans?
  • Non-accountable spending plans?