Tax Issues

GCFA Tax Packet 

  • Go to GCFA Web Page. Packet includes:

  • Tax information for clergy

  • Tax information for churches

  • Business expenses and reimbursements

 Employee vs. Contractor Information

Other Tax Resources: 

Ministerial Tax Issues guide available

GuideStone Financial Resources is a Texas-based provider of retirement and financial services to churches, mission-sending agencies, hospitals, educational institutions, and other related ministries.

GuideStone has created a Ministerial Tax Issues guide that is available as a free PDF. Click the link to find this and other materials created by GuideStone. http://www.guidestone.org/LearningCenter/Ministry

UPDATE January 2020: 2019 tax law changes that affect churches

GCFA provides guidance on church parking tax
The General Council on Finance and Administration has information for United Methodist ministries in preparing tax documents. A big change is that nonprofits no longer have to pay taxes on the provision of employee parking. Importantly, the change applies retroactively. The Internal Revenue Service is expected to release guidance on how to obtain refunds of any Section 512(a)(7) taxes that have already been paid. Watch for updates from GCFA 
Read overview

Information on how 2018 federal tax changes affect moving expenses for clergy

The federal government eliminated the moving expense exclusion and the individual deduction for tax years 2018 through 2025. This means that any moving expense payments you receive are subject to income taxes and SECA.

This Clergy Moving Expenses: Q&A was developed by Wespath to provide general information for clergy who may have questions about federal tax law concerning moving expense payments. Wespath’s Legal department researched these issues from a tax and employee benefit plan perspective.

Here is a video from Wespath: 

Reporting Moving Expense Income

It is important and necessary for local churches to report any moving expense payments made to, or on behalf of, active clergy to the Conference for benefit calculation purposes. If local churches fail to report moving expense payments, clergy may receive fewer benefits than they are entitled to.

The United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) was amended in 2018 to exclude moving expense reimbursements from the definition of plan compensation. Thus, in UMPIP, retirement benefits are not based on those amounts.

Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP), however, has not yet been amended to exclude moving expense reimbursements from plan compensation. Unless this is changed by the 2020 General Conference, moving expense reimbursements remain a part of plan compensation, and should continue to be reported as such, in order for pastors to receive a CRSP-DC contribution on their full compensation.

What to report:

• The amount of any moving expense payment provided to or on behalf of an active clergyperson,

• The date on which it was paid, and

• The name of the clergyperson.

How to report

To report payments to the New England Conference, local churches should complete this online Clergy Moving Expense form.

Group  ruling

United Methodist Churches can get their 501(c)(3) letters via the  GCFA group ruling website: UMgroupruling.org

Clergy Housing Allowance case

Update: March 2019

On Oct. 6, 2017 U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin found that 26 U.S.C. § 107(2) violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In a unanimous decision released March 15, 2019, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit reversed the 2017 federal court ruling.  Read a story from United Methodist News

Read an FAQ on the 2017 case 

Click here to read the analysis of the earlier ruling from the Legal Services Department of GCFA and view the most recent update.  

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Legal Services Department of GCFA at legal@gcfa.org or contact New England Conference Treasurer Bill Burnside at wburnside@neumc.org