All posts by Mark Friesen

Self-Employment Tax and the Minister (3-part series)

July 2024  Self-Employment Tax and the Minister (3-part series) Part 1: What is Self-Employment Tax? If I am a minister/clergy, do I have to pay self-employment taxes? This is a very important question, and perhaps a question you have asked yourself. Whether you are a seasoned minister, or just beginning, understanding self-employment taxes is vital…

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2024 Mileage Rate Announced

IR-2023-239, Dec. 14, 2023 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2024 optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups, or panel trucks) will…

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Do we need to write a termination letter?

Do we need to write a termination letter? There is no federal requirement for churches to provide written notice about why someone is being terminated, but we do recommend providing written notice as best practice. This reduces the likelihood of the terminated employee spinning up their own (possibly illegal) reason for the termination and then…

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Impropriety Policies

Impropriety Policies A true story that is every church leader’s worst nightmare: It was a weekday, and the police had just left the church office. The officers showed up unannounced and informed the staff that their visit was for the purpose of investigating an allegation of abuse in a children’s classroom from the previous Sunday….

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Can self-employed ministers deduct commuting mileage?

Can self-employed ministers deduct commuting mileage? Travel can be one of the most problematic areas for many of your self-employed ministers. The crux of the matter is defining when a drive is a commute and when it’s a deductible travel expense. This definition depends crucially on the minister’s principal place of ministry. Driving between home…

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Church Board Duties

Church Board Duties The start of the year is a good time for church boards to ensure that they have remained compliant with all of their duties to the organization. Of course, church entities are not all structured the same. Some are set up with broad congregational membership authority. Others are largely board governed. There…

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Employee Handbooks for Churches

Employee Handbooks for Churches  Churches sometimes lean toward avoiding too much formality around hiring practices and employment procedures. There can be a bias against seeming too “corporate” or running the church “like a business.” Heightened formality may seem natural when a church is hiring a previously unknown candidate for a pastoral position. But in other…

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Is there still time to claim employee retention credits?

Is there still time to claim employee retention credits for our church? Yes! The first expiration date for the credits is April 15, 2024, for any 2020 credits.  2021 credits can be claimed through April 15, 2025.  That said, the IRS is still taking 6-12 months to process most credits, so the cash is not…

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Non-accountable Reimbursement Plan

Non-accountable Reimbursement Plan If the church or religious organization reimburses or advances the employee for business expenses, but the arrangement does not satisfy the three requirements of an accountable plan, the amounts paid to the employees are considered wages subject to FICA taxes and income tax withholding, if applicable, and are reportable on Form W-2….

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Payment of Employee Ministry Expenses

Payment of Employee  Ministry Expenses A church or religious organization is treated like any other employer as far as the tax rules on employee business expenses. The rules differ depending upon whether the expenses are paid through an accountable or non-accountable plan, and these plans determine whether the payment for these expenses is included in…

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