Jump directly to the content

Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Definition of the Terms Pastor, Clergy, and Minister—In General

Volume 1 . Chapter 1 . § 1-02
Key point 1-02. While religious organizations may designate persons as ministers for their religious purposes free from any governmental interference, such a designation does not necessarily determine their legal or tax status.

For the reasons summarized in section 1-01, it often is important to determine if an individual is a minister for legal or tax purposes. This can be a difficult task, given the variety of staff positions in churches and other religious organizations. One court, in attempting to determine whether certain individuals were "ministers," quoted from an earlier decision of the United States Supreme Court: "Candor compels acknowledgment, moreover, that we can only dimly perceive the lines of demarcation in ...

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold 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."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.


Safe Ways to Handle Your Church’s Money

Safe Ways to Handle Your Church’s Money

Includes an assessment, tips to prevent embezzlement, benefits of audits and more.
2017 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

2017 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

Find comprehensive help understanding United States tax laws as they relate to pastors and churches.