Dozens of important tax developments further unfolded or emerged in 2017 that affect tax reporting by ministers, church staff, and churches for this upcoming tax season and beyond. Among these developments, the housing allowance challenge from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and proposed tax reform top this year's list of developments. A Feature Article explores these two developments, plus eight other noteworthy ones.
A pastor was on his cell phone with a church employee while driving when he negligently collided with another vehicle, killing the driver. A lawsuit alleged that the negligence of the pastor and church employee were imputable to the church since both individuals were church employees acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the call. Along with analyzing the outcome of this case, a Secondary Article also details state legislation prohibiting cell-phone use while driving and offers several instructive examples that show how churches could be liable for accidents caused by cell-phone use.
A mother accused a Sunday school teacher of molesting her young daughter. But the crime never happened—video from a church security camera proved the accusation false. At another church, a couple broke in to the offices with the intent to steal the Sunday offering. Surveillance footage was used to identify the couple's link to a string of burglaries. A Secondary Article details five specific benefits of installing security cameras in your church.
A federal court in Indiana ruled that the "ministerial exception" prevented it from resolving a lawsuit of a former principal at a Catholic high school claiming that the school's failure to renew her employment contract amounted to unlawful sex, age, and disability discrimination.
Churches often have policies prohibiting nonexempt employees from working after hours. But what about churches that require nonexempt support staff to answer emails, texts, and phone calls after hours? CPA and attorney Frank Sommerville offers guidance regarding this question.
A ruling of a Texas District Court invalidated the Department of Labor's overtime rule, claiming that the DOL exceeded its authority when it attempted to double the minimum salary thresholds used for exempt employees.