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Ministry Mileage

Documentation of expenses is vital to an acceptable accountable
reimbursement plan. Pre-Covid, ministry mileage driven is generally the minister’s greatest expense. Some ministers have contended that every mile they travel is in the furtherance of their ministry – and thus reimbursable. Their contention is based upon the fact
that they never stop being a minister and technically are “on-call” at all times. The IRS has not accepted this argument, just as they have declined similar claims by doctors and other professionals.

Commuting, going to the grocery store, or the local department
store are miles that are not ministerial in nature and thus can not be claimed for reimbursement. In their publications, the IRS clearly agrees that trips to the hospital or nursing home, or to attend
conferences or other church meetings are ministry-related miles and can be deducted. However, they go on to point out that trips to and from the church are considered nondeductible commuting
expenses.

A minister should carefully document their ministry mileage by the use of a daily (or trip) log. The log should contain the odometer reading at the beginning of the trip and the end of the trip, the date, and the ministry purpose of the trip. Stopping by the grocery store on the way home does not make the trip out of the ministry expense category, as long as the stop was incidental. The log should be used to calculate your mileage for submission to the church and should be retained long term to document such expenses if ever questioned by the IRS.

Contact Clergy Financial Resources to help you with the next steps.

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Maple Grove, MN 55369

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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: (763) 425-8778 
Fax: (888) 876-5101
Email: clientservices@clergyfinancial.com

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