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 to a pastor on their own during the year by making the check payable to the church?
A: I address love offerings on page 177 of my annual Church & Clergy Tax Guide. Your specific questions bring two responses to mind:
1. A reasonable basis exists for providing donors with a contribution receipt if the church board pre-authorized the payment to the pastor, the church announced and collected the offering, checks were made out to the church, and the funds were reported as taxable income to the pastor by the church (W-2 line 7).
2. A church should never accept checks over which it will not exercise control.
The 2013 Church & Clergy Tax Guide is available for pre-order at ChurchLawAndTaxStore.com.
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