Phil Driscoll owns two homes. One in Cleveland Tennessee and a lake home outside of Cleveland Tennessee. Phil Driscoll is an ordained gospel minister. Phil Driscoll Ministries paid for both homes and it was excluded from his income under the Pastor’s Housing allowance under Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The IRS felt that to be a bit greedy and assessed him with additional income and fraud penalties. Rev. Driscoll took the IRS to tax Court. The IRS argued that the use of the word “home” in Section 107 refers only to one home. Rev. Driscoll countered that in Section 7701(m) the Code provides that singular may include plural. Further, the legislative history did not forbid that interpretation. For those reasons the Tax Court ruled in Driscoll, et ux v. Commissioner, 135 TC 27 (2010) that both houses were homes for the purposes of Section 107 and both could be excluded from income. It was a split and narrow decision, but one that shows two things: (1) The IRS Code does by its own design create issues such as this and (2) That statutory language brings in Legislative History when Courts attempt to resolve these types of issues. This case is a big win for Pastors, but more importantly, it makes very clear another point, that when faced with a case where the IRS is taking a narrow reading of the law, one needs to look at the entirety of the Code to see if there is definitional assistance elsewhere and look to the Legislative History to make sure you have either neutral support or positive support from that history. Source: John F. Rodgers To view the court documents from the Driscoll vs. IRS case click here. Clergy Financial Resources https://www.clergyfinancial.com Clergy Financial Resources is a national accounting and finance organization serving churches and clergy since 1980. They have an unparalleled tax expertise on the complex issues associated with clergy tax law, clergy taxes, clergy compensation and church payroll. Clergy Financial Resources is a valuable resource for clergy, churches and denominations. To learn more about our services, please visit the links below: Tax Preparation https://www.clergyfinancial.com/taxprep.htm Mortgage Financing https://www.clergyfinancial.com/clergy_financial_mortgage.htm Church Payroll https://www.clergyfinancial.com/payroll/churchpayroll.html Clergy/Church Tax Law Products https://www.clergyfinancial.com/online_store.htm Clergy should not view this information as a substitute for professional advice. This information is subject to change, due to administrative rulings or interpretations and or technical corrections by the IRS. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent clergy tax professional person should be sought.
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