With so many line items making up a clergy’s compensation package, how exactly does one apply a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to their salary package. When a COLA is given to a clergy’s salary, the adjustment is made on their base + housing.  Since housing is a fixed number, the total adjustment is added to the base compensation. Then the Social Security Offset(allowance) is calculated off of the new base + housing. Here’s an example to help clarify (using a  10% COLA): Old Salary: $2,000 – Base $1,000 – Housing $229.50 – SS Offset(7.65 of base + housing) $3229.50 – Old Total Compensation Cost of Living Adjustment: $2,000 x 10% = $200 – Base $1,000 x 10% = $100  – Housing Total Adjustment to base + salary = $300  New Salary $2,300 – Base (Old base + Total COLA) $1,000 – Housing (remains the same) $252.45  SS Offset(7.65 of base + housing) $3552.45 – New Total Compensation

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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.

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