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If you paid for ministry-related expenses out of your own pocket, you may be able to deduct those costs.

You can only deduct unreimbursed ministry expenses that are ordinary and necessary to your ministry as an clergy employee. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate and helpful to your ministry.

These typical expenses may include: stationary, carbon paper, erasers, ink, stapler, paper clips, record books, secretarial or typing expenses, postage, office rent, machine rentals, furniture, utilities, equipment with life less than one year, etc.

Pamphlets or booklets for distribution, choir supplies, gifts for weddings/baptisms/holidays, teaching aids, pulpit robes, shirt collars, cleaning, etc.

Some costs that you may be able to deduct include:  This list is not all-inclusive.  

    • Advertising                                                                                             
    • Bank charges (ministry account only)                                 
    • Professional Clothing (not adaptable to general wear)                                            
    • Conventions     
    • Ministry / Professional Dues                                                   
    • Education /Seminars 
    • Liability / Malpractice Insurance                                         
    • Laundry / Cleaning                                                                  
    • Legal – Professional Services                                                  
    • Lodging                                                                                                      
    • Office expenses (postage, stationary, etc.)                                          
    • Office / Church supplies                                                          
    • Professional related gifts ($25 limit per person)                  
    • Religious materials                                                                   
    • Repairs                                                                                                       
    • Rent on business equipment / Property                                
    • Subscriptions / Publication / Books                                            
    • Telephone    
    • Ministry long distance                                                                             
    • Travel (airplane, train fares, etc.)                                                          
    • Wages / Fees paid (evangelists, speaker, etc.)                     
    • Meal / Entertainment      
    • Miscellaneous expenses relating to honoraria income                          


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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

For more information or if you need additional assistance, please use the contact information below.

Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Tel: (888) 421-0101 
Fax: (888) 876-5101
Email: clientservices@clergyfinancial.com