Home > Finance

Finance

Hey, Fletch: Is Our Church’s Overall Budget for Salaries Too High?
Excessive compensation is based on individual pay, not on the total amount budgeted for staff.
Hey, Fletch: Is Our Church’s Overall Budget for Salaries Too High?
Image:

In this recurring Q&A, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com. ...

IRS Ramping Up Its Focus on Tax-Exempt Entities
IRS Ramping Up Its Focus on Tax-Exempt Entities
Image:

The news: “IRS auditors who focus on tax-exempt groups will be kept busy this year. Among the issues they’ll be eyeing … Charities that run afoul of the private benefit and private inurement prohibitions. ... Misclassification of workers. And groups that operate ...

Seventh Circuit: Clergy Housing Allowance Is Constitutional
Appellate court reverses lower court ruling, preserving valuable tax benefit.
Seventh Circuit: Clergy Housing Allowance Is Constitutional
Image:

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago ruled Friday afternoon that the clergy housing allowance is a constitutionally permissible tax benefit.

The Seventh Circuit reversed a 2017 decision by a federal district judge in Wisconsin, which favored leaders of the ...

The New Overtime Rule Proposal: What Churches Should Note
The New Overtime Rule Proposal: What Churches Should Note
Image:

On March 7, the US Department of Labor (DOL) “issued its long-awaited replacement of the Obama administration’s controversial overtime rule, raising the minimum salary threshold required for workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act's ‘white collar’ ...

A Peek Inside How Churches Spend Their Money
The trends from the past 20 years—and how you can help us better understand them in 2019.
A Peek Inside How Churches Spend Their Money
Image:

Each month we receive questions from church leaders like you. Many of these questions share a common theme. They go something like this:

We’re a small church in Florida. We’re trying to figure out how our spending on personnel compares to other churches like us. Can ...
Don't Be Blindsided by Three "Unexpected Expenses"
Don't Be Blindsided by Three "Unexpected Expenses"
Image:

In his blog on ChristianityToday.com, small-church pastor Karl Vaters offers these tips that could keep you from being caught off guard by three types of expenses:

  1. Set aside money every month for annual bills. Most bills come monthly. But every church has annual bills (like insurance) that we have to stop being surprised by. Any healthy church anticipates these bills and plans for them by laying some money aside every month so it’s there when the bill inevitably arrives.
What to Include in a Severance Package
What to Include in a Severance Package
Image:

Determine what to include in a severance package by establishing your budget and reviewing the paid benefits that the employee receives. Often a severance package will include full pay, paid insurance premiums, continued contribution to retirement, and outplacement services ...

Hey, Fletch: What Should I Look for in an Online Giving Platform?
Four values every church should consider before making a choice.
Hey, Fletch: What Should I Look for in an Online Giving Platform?
Image:

In this regular column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

Provide a Notice to Donors
Now is a good time to give contributors this important filing information.
Provide a Notice to Donors
Image:

Donors should be advised in the church bulletin or newsletter, on the church website, or in a letter from the church, not to file their federal income tax return before they receive their contribution summary from the church. Donors may not be able to deduct individual contributions ...

5 Numbers to Watch this Fall
5 Numbers to Watch this Fall
Image:

September through November has always been a season of growth at the church I serve. Summer is over and temperatures start dropping, which means people are spending less time on vacation or at the lake and more time showing up to church. The kids have gone back to school, and ...

Hey, Fletch: Would We Save Money by Outsourcing Our Church’s Cleaning?
The cost may seem high, but the in-house expenses may surprise you.
Hey, Fletch: Would We Save Money by Outsourcing Our Church’s Cleaning?
Image:

In this regular column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

The Outsourcing Option
Why your church might want to let an outside pro handle the books.
The Outsourcing Option
Image:

When Steve Dawson first started working with churches more than two decades ago, much of the accounting work was still being done by hand.

Churches were just starting to use computers for spreadsheets and bookkeeping software. Not everyone was convinced that was a good idea, ...

When Clothing and Household Items Are Donated
Churches may want to tell taxpayers that generosity is its own reward.
When Clothing and Household Items Are Donated
Image:

Shoes and pants. Toasters and blenders and recliners. Donors want to drop them off at your church’s thrift store or donation center. They will often want a deduction for such noncash donations of personal property. What do you tell them?

First, you can’t tell them ...

What You Need to Know About Compensation Surveys
Used correctly, good surveys are helpful tools for setting fair and reasonable compensation.
What You Need to Know About Compensation Surveys
Image:

In the July/August 2018 edition of Church Law & Tax Report, Bob Cartwright, a seasoned compensation and human resources consultant, gives steps any church can use to create fair and consistent compensation packages. The following excerpt from Cartwright’s article explores ...

3 Audiences for Church Financial Reports to Consider
The people you need to keep in the know when creating financial statements.
3 Audiences for Church Financial Reports to Consider
Image: rawpixel / Unsplash

General membership

First, there is the general membership. Members use financial statements to help them reach certain conclusions on the status of the church. For example, if the church is doing well financially, members will generally place more confidence in the abilities ...

Hey, Fletch: A Board Member No Longer Gives to the Church
How to approach a board member who isn’t engaging with the church’s mission.
Hey, Fletch: A Board Member No Longer Gives to the Church
Image: Drew Beamer / Unsplash

In this biweekly column, longtime executive pastor and and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com. ...

Hey, Fletch: What’s the Best Way to Structure a Pay Scale?
Tips for building a compensation plan that can grow with your church.
Hey, Fletch: What’s the Best Way to Structure a Pay Scale?
Image: Joshua Ness / Unsplash

In this biweekly column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.orgfounder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

How Can Churches Treat Their Staffs Well?
An experienced executive pastor offers insights on compensation, job descriptions, and more.
How Can Churches Treat Their Staffs Well?
Image: rawpixel / Unsplash

Editor’s Note: Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax Team will co-host “Smart Money for Church Salaries,” a church compensation workshop with David Fletcher, on August 23 in Wheaton, Illinois. Readers receive an $80 discount by entering CT in the ...

8 Reminders About Supplemental Income Projects
Take these necessary precautions.
8 Reminders About Supplemental Income Projects
Image: JESHOOTS.COM / Unsplash

I understand what a challenge it can be to focus on ministry when finances are tight. Over the years I have received several questions on the topic of supplemental income. Some of you have asked about precautions when working on supplemental income projects. I have heard from ...

Estate Gifts: Don’t Get Too Involved
Churches should never recommend a lawyer or a financial planner.
Estate Gifts: Don’t Get Too Involved
Image: rawpixel / Unsplash

The following excerpt about wills and estate planning is adapted from “Encouraging Estate Gifts in Your Church” in the June 2018 issue of Church Finance Today.

Churches can get into trouble if they get too involved in the process of procuring a gift or bequest. That’s ...

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.

20 Finance Questions Churches Ask

20 Finance Questions Churches Ask Subscriber access only

Richard Hammar shares his answers to 20 of the most widely asked and relevant tax and finance questions for church leaders.
Protecting Your Tax-Exempt Status

Protecting Your Tax-Exempt Status Subscriber access only

Understand the requirements of your tax-exempt status.