Ministers are individuals who are duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed by a religious body constituting a church or church denomination. They are given the authority to conduct religious worship, perform sacerdotal functions, and administer ordinances or sacraments according to the prescribed tenets and practices of that church or denomination.
If a church or denomination ordains some ministers and licenses or commissions others, anyone licensed or commissioned must be able to perform substantially all the religious functions of an ordained minister to be treated as a minister for social security purposes.
The Tax Court ruled in 1987 that a minister is one who:
conducts religious worship
has management responsibility in a local church or religious denomination (control, conduct, or maintenance of a religious organization)
is ordained, commissioned, or licensed, and
is considered to be a religious leader by his or her church or denomination
In 1989, the Tax Court ruled that only the fourth factor is required (ordained, commissioned, or licensed) and that a balancing test should be applied with respect to the remaining four factors.
Clergy Financial Resources
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.< Back
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