By Matt Tullos
Stewardship Development Specialist, TBMB
Money powers all kinds of things. It fuels ministries that we are compelled to begin, it provides for the needs of ministers, and it sends missionaries all over Tennessee, North America and the world. But in some cases, money sends members, ministers and business meetings into chaos. But fear not. These monetary mix-masters can be avoided.
Every fall, the TBMB unleashes our financial experts, Gary Rickman and Deborah Taylor, across Tennessee for the “Financial Issues Facing Churches and Ministers” seminar. If your financial administrators missed last fall’s seminar, we’ve got some good news! We have an audio presentation you can enjoy online. Here are just four takeaways from last fall’s seminars.
(1) Ministers, your housing allowance is safe! There was an effort by a group to call the minister’s housing allowance unconstitutional. It was voted down unanimously. This means that the housing allowance as a tax-free benefit is still legitimate.
(2) Guidestone offers free life and disability for churches that contribute at least 50 dollars a month to their pastors or employees. Listen to the podcast and download the PowerPoint for details.
(3) Caution: Moving expenses are counted as salary. Previously moving expenses could be tax deductible but not anymore. This means when a church pays 20K for your new pastor from the west coast to come to East Tennessee, that amount goes on the W-2 as salary.
(4) The value of personal services is never deductible as a charitable contribution. In other words, if someone fixes a light in the church sign and says, “Don’t pay me, just give me a charitable contribution statement worth $50,” just say “no.” The IRS doesn’t see it that way. Congratulations on the church sign improvement, but you just have to pay the guy or assume that he will receive his reward from heaven and not the IRS.
These are just four of the many takeaways included in this church finance and tax roundtable. Every pastor and financial administrator in the church should have the resources found on tnbaptist.org/cp. B&R