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Can Ministers "Opt Out" of Obamacare?

Exploring whether or not Form 4361 exempts ministers from the Affordable Care Act.

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as the Affordable Care Act), I have had several people ask me about how the Act mandates may affect ministers who have an IRS-approved Form 4361 (the form ministers use within the first two years of ministry to opt out of Social Security and Medicare). Does a minister's IRS-approved Form 4361 also exempt them from the Affordable Care Act?

I addressed this in my full analysis of the Affordable Care Act available in the CHURCH LAW & TAX REPORT archives on ChurchLawAndTax.com:

For many years the tax code provided ministers with a limited opportunity to exempt themselves from paying self-employment (Social Security and Medicare) taxes on their ministerial income by filing a timely exemption application (Form 4361) with the IRS. A minister certifies on Form 4361 that "[he or she is] conscientiously opposed to, or because of [his or her] religious principles … opposed to, the acceptance (for services [he or she] performed as a minister … ) of any public insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement, or that makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical care."

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