Supreme Court Won't Hear Housing Allowance Case
Petition by Driscoll denied by High Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition on Monday to take up an appeal by a minister who claimed an income tax exclusion for two homes.

In late 2010, the U.S. Tax Court ruled that federal tax law does not limit the number of homes for which a minister can receive special, tax-free benefits. The federal government appealed the Tax Court decision, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Tax Court earlier this year. The appeals court said the clergy housing exclusion is limited to a single home.

The minister, Philip Driscoll, then filed a petition to have the case considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. The denial issued on Monday by the Supreme Court leaves the issue where the IRS and the vast majority of clergy have understood it to be for decades–that the clergy housing exclusion is limited to a single home.

This guest post first appeared in The Nonprofit Watchman, a free e-newsletter published by Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, P.A., that covers significant state and federal developments for nonprofits and their executives. Reprinted with permission.

For a comprehensive explanation of the housing allowance and how it works, check out Chapter 6 of Richard Hammar's 2012 Church & Clergy Tax Guide.

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

Recent Posts
Subscribe to Church, Law & Tax

Resources

Essential Guide to Internal Controls for Churches

Essential Guide to Internal Controls for Churches

Addresses critical aspects of safeguarding money for ministries. 
Avoiding Costly Tax-filing Mistakes

Avoiding Costly Tax-filing Mistakes

Describes several common errors to watch out for when filing minister's taxes.