A down payment on a home may be excluded from income as a housing allowance, assuming it does not exceed housing limitation.

You can exclude the lowest of the following three amounts from income for federal income tax purposes when the church or pension properly designates a housing allowance:

  1. The housing allowance designated by the church/pension; or
  2. Actual housing expenses (including mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes, insurance, furnishings, repairs and improvements); or
  3. The fair rental value of the home (furnished, including utilities).

Example: Pastor Jones made a $75,000 down payment on a home. His church designated $40,000 of his $60,000 salary as a housing allowance. Pastor Jones had other housing expenses of $10,000, but the fair rental value of the home (furnished, including utilities) was $25,000. He can only exclude $25,000 because the fair rental value was less than the church-designated amount or his actual expenses, including the down payment. The balance would be considered taxable excess housing.


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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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