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 YourChurchResources.com.
This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations