Dreading tax time? Even with all the exemptions and deductions that seem to make filing taxes confusing, pastors can breeze through the process — if they take some practical steps to track and organize important records.
Proper files for a minister should contain these essential items: W-2 and 1099 forms, interest statements from banks or investments, dividend statements, receipts for housing items spent during the year, receipts or computer ledgers for all deductible items (church -related, medical, auto expenses and charitable contributions). If you keep good records, you'll reap these benefits:
a. Less time to finish and print tax returns. (The book ClergyTax or software programs such as TaxAct, Turbotax or Taxcut can help.) If you use a tax preparer, you'll often save money if your records are in good order.
b. You won't miss out on valuable tax benefits.
c. If you're ever audited (you probably won't be), you'll be prepared and have peace of mind.
Beside rent or mortgage payments, real estate taxes and insurance, here are some great tax-deductible housing costs for ordained or licensed ministers:
Check with a tax expert, the IRS or your accountant for specifics on and how to claim these items.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.