Tax Software For Ministers

  A frequent mantra that I often repeat is “Minister’s taxes are not hard, they are just different.” Of course, easy is a relative term. For us, many tax returns are not difficult because we have prepared thousands of minister returns. Most people, including many preparers, do not know the differences in tax law for ministers.

Paid Preparer or DIY Software?

Virtually no one today prepares taxes the old-fashioned way. Computer software, coupled with e-filing has made this method almost a universal experience. Even though that software may have an “interview” feature along with error-checking. It is only a tool. In order to properly prepare a return, you must have a certain level of knowledge.

Some ministers turn to tax software to prepare their annual Form 1040. But this must be done with caution. Professional software will easily accommodate the nuances of a minister’s tax situation. Some consumer software is designed to do the same. Others may be deficient in this area. Before buying software assure yourself that it is adequate for your needs.

Be aware that not any professional preparer can do the job for you. Many preparers do not prepare these returns and do not know many of the laws relating to ministers. If you want it done properly, find a knowledgeable preparer. There are organizations such as Clergy Financial Resources that can do this. We recall one situation where a minister was thrilled to find an experienced preparer who knew the issues involved in the minister’s tax returns. Upon examination, his past returns had not been properly prepared, vastly understating his tax liability. This was explained to him, but he never came back.

If you choose to do it yourself, you need to learn the tax issues applicable to ministers. An excellent resource is Church and Clergy Tax Guide


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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: (888) 421-0101 
Fax: (888) 876-5101


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