All posts from “benefits”

Salary and Benefit Breakdown for Senior Pastors

May 22, 2014 8:00 AM

The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff shows full-time senior pastors' salary and benefits at an average of $88,814. This represents a 7 percent increase from the $82,938 average reported in 2011. The senior pastor is one of the most...

Justice Department Appeals Wisconsin Clergy Housing Allowance Ruling

January 24, 2014 2:22 PM

Richard Hammar, senior editor of Church Law & Tax Report and ChurchLawAndTax.com, reports the Justice Department filed a notice of appeal this afternoon in the Wisconsin clergy housing allowance case. In late November, a federal district judge ruled the housing...

Q&A: Hosting a Music Group at Church

December 12, 2013 8:00 AM

Q: I'm a pastor of a local church and have some questions about groups and individuals that come to the church to do musical performances. I'd like to know what our requirements are as a church regarding the legal...

Obamacare: What's Next for Churches

November 26, 2013 8:00 AM

The recent temporary fix on Capitol Hill helped the government avoid defaulting on its debt obligations. Republicans and Democrats now continue discussions about a fiscal budget, and with funding still in place for the Affordable Care Act, its implementation remains...

Five Takeaways from the November 2013 Housing Allowance Ruling

November 25, 2013 11:59 AM

UPDATE (12/2/13): Below are five immediate takeaways from Richard Hammar on the November 22, 2013, ruling on clergy housing allowances by a federal judge in Wisconsin. Rich goes deeper on these five, plus five more, in the January/February issue of...

"Play or Pay" Health Care Penalty Delayed

July 8, 2013 11:33 AM

The Obama Administration announced on July 2 a one-year delay in the effective date of a major component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requiring employers with at least 50 workers to offer health coverage or be exposed...

Q&A: Which House Qualifies for the Housing Allowance?

June 11, 2013 8:00 AM

Q: I know the recent Driscoll decision means a pastor can't claim two homes for his or her housing allowance. In a situation where a pastor answers a call in one state, but his or her family stays behind...

The Four Levels of Scrutiny of Pastoral Search Committees

March 11, 2013 8:00 AM

In a previous post I noted different trends among pastoral search committees. As I stated then, I am using the phrase “pastoral search committee,” even though it does not apply to every congregation. Some churches receive pastors through an...

When You Need Outside Help for Taxes

February 25, 2013 8:00 AM

A brief Q&A recently featured in The Wall Street Journal offers tips for what to look for in a tax preparer. Many people hire someone to help them file their returns these days, the author notes, mostly because of the...

Big Churches Expect Big Things in 2013

February 19, 2013 5:00 AM

Leadership Network released its 2013 economic outlook this morning, relaying a mostly upbeat forecast for the nation's big Protestant churches in the year ahead. The organization created the report, written by Warren Bird and Stephanie Jackson, by combining responses...

12 Benefits of the New Taxpayer Relief Act

January 17, 2013 8:00 AM

Congress enacted legislation, known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act, in the final hours of 2012 that increased taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and extended several expired tax benefits so they will be available in preparing your 2012 tax return....

Will Churches Pay More in 2013?

January 10, 2013 8:00 AM

A few months ago, our friend Warren Bird at Leadership Network informally surveyed nearly 600 Protestant churches to find out their plans for hiring and pay raises in 2013. The survey results appeared encouraging: 74 percent expected to give raises...

Q&A: Is a Love Offering Tax Deductible for the Donor?

December 4, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: I realize love offerings need to be included in a pastor’s taxable income, however, should an individual receive tax-deductible credit for their gift if the church board authorized the collection? Also, what if an individual gives a love gift...

Q&A: Are "Love Offerings" for Church Staff Taxable?

November 8, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: I recently read an article about when churches give Christmas gifts and have a question. If a church takes up a love offering at Christmas for its pastor and staff, is that reportable as income? This would not come...

Free Church Payroll Webinar Rescheduled

September 11, 2012 3:24 PM

Due to illness, Richard Hammar’s “Prevent Payroll Mistakes—What Churches Need to Know” webinar, which was originally scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, September 12, 2012), has been rescheduled. In an effort to best serve you, we have rescheduled this free webinar to...

Q&A: Should Churches Perform a Compensation Study?

July 26, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: At the end of every year, our board discusses the salary for our ministers for the upcoming year. We would like to compensate our ministers for all they do for our church, and some have suggested we get a...

Q&A: Is Benevolence for a Church Employee Taxable?

July 19, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: Can a church give a cash benevolence gift to an employee? And is it taxable income? A: Yes and yes. For better or worse, churches seem to attract needy employees. They may need their car repaired or have...

Health Care Ruling Preserves Credit for Churches

June 28, 2012 10:34 AM

This morning's Supreme Court decision to largely uphold President Obama's health care reform legislation appears to preserve a health insurance credit for small employers, including churches, to help cover the costs of providing coverage to employees. This means churches that...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 6

June 21, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part six of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Last week we looked at how to properly classify employees who are ministers. Determining the parts of compensation that are taxable...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 5

June 14, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part five of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Last week we looked at how noncash benefits must count as compensation. Classifying the employees who are ministers is a crucial...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 4

June 7, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part four of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Last week we looked at how to avoid costly penalties when setting pay. Before an organization can move on to...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 3

May 31, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part three of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Part one looked at why churches should carefully think through what qualifies as compensation and taxes on compensation. Part two...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 2

May 23, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part two of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Part one looked at why churches should carefully think through what qualifies as compensation and taxes on compensation. One of...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 1

May 17, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on Elaine Sommerville’s blog Elaine’s Tax Tips for Nonprofits. Today is part one of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. One of the most common areas that...

A Breakdown of Salaries and Benefits for Senior Pastors

April 3, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff is now available. This resource details pay and benefits data for 14 church positions, including two new ones—part-time musician and part-time childcare provider. Each position is analyzed based on a variety...

Is Income Exceeding Expenses at Your Church?

March 13, 2012 8:00 AM

Findings from the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff reveal that the overall percentage of churches operating in the black—income EXCEEDS expenses—declined in almost every region....

The Top 7 Paid Positions at Churches

February 7, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff is now available. This resource details pay and benefits data for 14 church positions, including two new ones—part-time musician and part-time childcare provider. Each position is analyzed based on a variety...

Part 1: When Raises Aren’t Possible for Church Staff

January 12, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Liz Ryan spent 20 years as a corporate human resources leader. During that time, she saw the best and worst of how employers treat their employees. She’s now a full-time writer and consultant on workplaces and writes...

How Much Are Pastors Earning These Days?

January 5, 2012 8:00 AM

How much are the pastors of Protestant churches nationwide earning these days? The chart below shows the national averages for compensation and benefits earned by full-time senior pastors, based on Christianity Today's biannual survey of 4,600 churches nationwide. The survey...

Cartoon: Pastor Hides Staff Turnover

November 24, 2011 8:00 AM

If you need human resources materials for your church, see The 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, and the staff section of ChurchSafety.com cover a variety of topics specifically geared toward church staff....

Group Drops Case Against Pastor Housing Allowances

June 22, 2011 10:21 AM

A constitutional challenge to the tax-free housing allowances and parsonages provided to thousands of American pastors is over after the plaintiffs who filed the original lawsuit voluntarily requested its dismissal Friday in a California district court. But the battle...

More Analysis on the Pastor Housing Allowance Challenge

June 14, 2011 8:00 AM

Last month, Richard Hammar wrote an article detailing new developments in the constitutional challenge to pastoral housing allowances under way in California. In a separate case in Arizona, the Supreme Court ruled the plaintiffs there lacked standing for their...

A Tax Credit for Churches?

April 18, 2011 8:56 AM

Editor's Note (September 29, 2011): A church business administrator in Colorado shared the following update regarding his church's application for this credit: "We submitted form 990-T claiming the credit (approximately $7,100) in late April. We received a request for more...

Should Congress Change Pastors' Housing Allowances?

April 12, 2011 8:00 AM

The newest issue of Christianity Today poses an interesting question: Should Congress change pastors' housing allowances? Expect to hear a lot more on the topic in the weeks and months ahead. Since the conclusion of Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-Iowa)...

Handling Leases for Car Allowances

March 28, 2011 8:00 AM

Question: Our church provides an auto allowance budget line item for vehicle expenses for our pastor. The pastor leases a vehicle that he uses for church-related business. He has asked to use the budget line for reimbursement of the...

Why the National Church Compensation Survey Matters

March 10, 2011 8:00 AM

John Clemens with IRN USA Radio recently interviewed Matt Branaugh about Christianity Today International's National Church Compensation Survey. In this six-minute clip (which aired on more than 1,100 stations nationally), you'll hear more details about the importance of this survey,...

Pay Raises for Pastors and Church Staff in 2011?

February 24, 2011 8:00 AM

A recent Wall Street Journal headline immediately caught my eye: “Higher Pay Gains Seen for 2011.” The article goes on to explain the very real chance American workers will receive bigger pay raises this year: With corporate America sitting...

Holiday Pushes Back Due Date for Taxes

February 23, 2011 10:15 AM

Haven't started your federal taxes yet? As February fast draws to a close, you may be encouraged to know that you get an extra three days to work on 2010 filings. From this morning's Richard Hammar's Essential Reminders: "Taxpayers...

Help for Pastors During Tax Season

February 17, 2011 8:00 AM

The "The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010," passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in mid-December, triggered a domino-like effect of changes for tax-filers--so much so that even the Internal Revenue Service...

What Churches Should Know about the Tax Relief Act

January 18, 2011 8:00 AM

On December 17, Congress passed the "The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010." After President Obama signed it into law, numerous tax provisions that were about to expire were kept alive. And a significant benefit...

Tax Ruling May Help Pastors Who Own Two Homes

January 11, 2011 8:00 AM

Late in 2010, the United States Tax Court ruled a pastor could apply a housing allowance toward expenses incurred from a primary residence and a vacation home. What are the implications for church leaders? Well, while many may not own...

TheYourChurchBlog.com's Top 5 Posts of 2010

December 30, 2010 8:30 AM

Last week, we took a moment to highlight the Top 10 most-read articles from Your Church magazine's website, YourChurch.net. As we continue to count down the days to 2011, we now offer the Top 5 most-read posts from TheYourChurchBlog.com...

Deadline Nears for Pastors' Housing Designations

December 15, 2010 9:40 AM

Churches must designate a portion of each minister's compensation as a housing allowance by December 31 in order for ministers who own or rent their homes to receive the full benefit of a housing allowance exclusion for calendar year 2011....

A New, Free Tool for Calculating Church Staff Salaries

November 18, 2010 8:00 AM

One of the best resource books for determining church staff pay, The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, now offers a free, easy-to-use tool for church leaders. The "Free Compensation Handbook Worksheets Download," walks church leaders through The 2010-2011...

Medical Allowances and Health Savings Accounts

October 12, 2010 8:00 AM

Question: We are entertaining the idea of changing our health care coverage to a HSA (Health Saving Account)-compatible policy. Presently our three pastors receive a designated amount of medical allowances each year to help them cover the costs of...

Legislation Drops Cell Phones from "Listed Property"

October 5, 2010 8:00 AM

The small business tax relief legislation just passed by Congress and signed by the president includes a long-awaited provision removing cell phones from "listed property" under federal tax law effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2009. As...

Case Threatens Pastor Housing Allowances

September 28, 2010 8:00 AM

Earlier this month, we covered eight federal issues that local churches should watch closely during the remainder of 2010 and into 2011, according to recent remarks from Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Busby, one...

Impact of Health Care Reform Issues for Nonprofits

July 13, 2010 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: Richard Hammar reviews the 2,500-page health care reform legislation that President Obama signed into law in March 2010 in the feature article of the July/August issue of Church Law & Tax Report. Rich's health care reform analysis...

What Will the New Health Care Bill Mean for Churches?

March 25, 2010 9:00 AM

(Editor's Note: Since this post publishes, we've since released "Health Care Reform: How the new laws will affect your church.") Now that President Obama has signed the health care reform bill into law, many churches are wondering what the impact...