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Tax and Tax Information - Income Tax

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Tax and Tax Information * Income Tax

Minister's Housing Allowance   
Alan D Campbell

Churches often provide ministers of the gospel with the free use of a home, which is often called a parsonage. The value of the parsonage is not subject to income tax up to the rental value of the home. The value of the parsonage is subject to self-employment tax.


Alternatively, a church may provide a minister with a cash housing allowance as a part of the minister's compensation. Such a housing allowance, up to the fair rental value of the house and associated furnishings, is not subject to income tax. In addition, money the minister receives from the church for utilities is not subject to income tax. However, the minister's housing allowance is subject to self-employment tax.

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

No Blowing Smoke: Group Discusses SC Cigarette Tax (AP Via Yahoo! Finance)
Doctors and an anti-smoking group discuss efforts to raise South Carolina's 7-cent-a-pack cigarette tax that is the lowest in the nation.

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Who is a minister for the purpose of this exclusion? While determining who is a bona fide minister for this purpose dependsd on the facts and circumstances, a minister is usually an individual who conducts worship services, serves as a church administrator, or teaches at a religious school or seminary.


Although a taxpayer usually cannot deduct expenses incurred in connection with the production of tax-free income, a minister may deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes for income tax purposes on a home the minister owns. The law allows the minister these deductions even though the housing allowance is not subject to income tax.

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

Rally To Push For Hike To Georgia Cigarette Tax (AP Via Yahoo! Finance)
Anti-smoking advocates say they know a way to help fill Georgia's $1 billion budget shortfall: hike the tax on cigarettes by $1.

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If the minister owns and lives in the home as the minister's primary residence for two or more years out of the last five years, and then sells it, the minister may use the exclusion of the gain on the sale of the home up to $250,000 if single or up to $500,000 if married.


A minister receives all the benefits of owning a home that any other homeowner receives. The ability to avoid income tax on a housing allowance adds to the benefits of owning a home for a minister. Therefore, a minister should generally prefer to own a home rather than receive the free use of a home owned by the church.


The exclusion from gross income of a housing allowance for a minister is a generous provision of Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code. The tax benefits allowed to a minister are magnified with the ability to deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes and exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married) of the gain on the sale of the home. Ministers of the gospel should take advantage of these provisions so that they can minimize what they must render unto Caesar.





Alan D. Campbell is a CPA in Arkansas and Florida and is self-employed primarily as an author of tax publications. He is the co-author of the book Tax Strategies for the Self-Employed. For more tax savings strategies, please see his Tax Svings Strategies blog http://taxsavingsstrategies.blogspot.com

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Index of Articles about Taxes

What Other Authors say about Taxes

Unclaimed Tax Refunds: How To Claim Yours by Gray Rollins

When a taxpayer owes money on their taxes they need to pay the amount owed before the traditional April 15th deadline. If the amount owed on taxes is not paid before the deadline, then federal and state...

Lump-Sum Social Security Benefits--Tax Election by Alan D Campbell

Sometimes a taxpayer will receive Social Security benefits in one lump sum. A taxpayer might have to pay income taxes on up to 85 percent of these benefits. However, a taxpayer may make an election under...

Preparing Ahead For A Pleasant Tax Day by Carl LaFresnaye

How did you spend your last tax day? In line at a post office at almost midnight, dropping off your taxes? Dreading going on an extension again – knowing if you owe and don't pay it on time, there will...

Panama: The Benefits of this Jurisdiction for your IBC by Richard Price

Why use the jurisdiction of Panama for your IBC? Does 'no income tax', 'no capital gains tax' and 'no estate tax' capture your attention? If so, read on…Panama constitution provides the highest levels...

Income Tax Preparation: Do It Yourself ? by Gary Talbot

There is one hassle that we all have to deal with each and every year and that is doing our income tax preparation. There are really only two choices we have in this matter. You can either do it yourself,...

Purchase a Boat in 2006? It Could Earn You A Tax Deduction by Brandon Bissell

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<p>How Does Buying Beat Renting?<p>Melissa is single with no dependents and earns $50,000 a year. As a renter, she doesn't itemize deductions. Melissa eventually purchases a home and ends up...

Does IRS have a Refund or Stimulus Check for you by

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