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New Email Scam Targets Payroll
Churches should verify that requests for bank account changes are legitimate.
New Email Scam Targets Payroll
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A new email scam poses a significant threat to employers including churches, says Batts Morrison Wales & Lee (BMWL). The accounting firm issued this warning on September 13:

BMWL has learned from multiple sources about a new attempted scam related to employee payroll direct ...
Is Your Church Paying Fair Salaries?
Attracting and keeping quality employees while practicing good stewardship.
Is Your Church Paying Fair Salaries?
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One of the most common questions we get when helping churches manage their employee search relates to compensation. While I wish there was a one-size-fits-all answer for this question, the truth is that every church is unique and needs to answer this question for itself.

When ...

Shining a Light on How Churches Spend Money
New survey results provide insights on budget trends and decisions nationwide.
Shining a Light on How Churches Spend Money
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Churches allocate nearly half of their budgets to staff compensation, according to the recently completed 2019 Church Budget Priorities Study from Church Law & Tax.

The finding closely mirrors findings from its predecessor in 2014—but compared to surveys conducted in ...

Abuse and Embezzlement—Why Churches Continue to Struggle with Both
XPastor.org Founder David Fletcher reflects on the sobering trends his research revealed.
Abuse and Embezzlement—Why Churches Continue to Struggle with Both
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The fact that sexual abuse, embezzlement, and incidents of gun violence are occurring within congregations is addressed in Predators in the Church , an upcoming book by David Fletcher, who has served in church ministry for more than 35 years and runs XPastor.org, a website devoted ...

Gas Tax Increases and Church Budgets
As more states reform and increase fuel taxes, the costs for reimbursing travel may go up.
Gas Tax Increases and Church Budgets
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The News

From Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP):

Illinois now enjoys the distinction of being the 31st state to raise or reform its gas tax this decade, and the fourth state to do so this year, under a bill signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. While state tax ...
New Scam: Emails Target Worshipers
Leaders should warn congregants about this phony “contribution” scam.
New Scam: Emails Target Worshipers
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Scammers are now targeting worshipers in a gift card scam, warns the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Posing as a pastor or other church leaders (through an email that looks familiar and legitimate), these scammers ask worshipers for gift-card contributions to a good cause. The ...

The Financial Struggles of Real Pastors
Most pastors feel the financial squeeze, despite the hype surrounding mega-rich celebrity pastors. "Bless Your Pastor" is one way congregations can respond.
The Financial Struggles of Real Pastors
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A TV preacher asked his flock for $54 million last year so he could buy a new private jet. One of America’s most popular pastors owns a $10.5 million mansion and drives a top-model Ferrari. And not long ago, @PreachersNSneakers was launched on Instagram to name and shame ...

Religious and Individual Giving Dipped in 2018
Newly released philanthropy report reveals decreases in giving that may, in part, be due to tax policy changes.
Religious and Individual Giving Dipped in 2018
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Individual giving took a hit in 2018, with a decline from the previous year of 1.1 percent (or a decrease of 3.4 percent when adjusted for inflation), according to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018—a highly anticipated study produced ...

With Interest Rates Up, Should Churches Borrow to Build?
Some considerations regarding debt to fund expansion or new construction.
With Interest Rates Up, Should Churches Borrow to Build?
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The News

In early 2019, Bankrate.com indicated borrowing costs continue to rise. And while a new report on May 31 suggested increasing inflation may slow increases to interest rates affecting loans, the overall view is that borrowing for the foreseeable future will cost ...

Fraudulent Email Scheme Costs One Parish $1.75 Million
Two lessons for church leaders to draw from this unfortunate story.
Fraudulent Email Scheme Costs One Parish $1.75 Million
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A Catholic parish in Ohio was a recent victim of a major fraud perpetrated through the use of fake emails. According to news reports, the church was in the midst of a large construction project. Fraudsters used emails that appeared to originate from church workers’ email ...

Minimize or Avoid Problems when Abandoning Projects with Designated Funds
Minimize or Avoid Problems when Abandoning Projects with Designated Funds
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Churches that solicit funds for designated projects face difficult choices when they abandon a project and are left with the task of disposing of funds that were donated for that project. These problems can be avoided if the church simply includes a statement similar to the ...

Communicating Financial Information
Communicating Financial Information
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In your church, there are two groups of people you need to keep in mind when sharing financial information: your congregation and your leadership.

Regarding your congregation, it’s hard to say how much is too much or too little to share. For some churches, they have a history ...

A Ruling with Three Lessons on Embezzlement
A Ruling with Three Lessons on Embezzlement
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A New York appeals court recently affirmed a trial court ruling that “a pastor who embezzled a substantial amount of church funds” had to make restitution for those funds, said attorney and CPA Richard R. Hammar in “Pastor Who Embezzled Must Make Restitution.” ...

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?
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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
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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
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After an appellate court ruled the clergy housing allowance to be constitutionally permissible in March, churches across the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief. For good reason. The allowance is the most valuable tax benefit to ministers who qualify for it. It’s ...

The New Overtime Rule Proposal: What Churches Should Note
The New Overtime Rule Proposal: What Churches Should Note
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Editor’s note: On September 24, 2019, the US Department of Labor announced the final version of its rule. Of note for churches and church leaders: the adopted “standard salary level” is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year, for a full-year worker. This is slightly ...

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
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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"
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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
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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 ...

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

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

Setting a Pastor's Pay

Setting a Pastor's Pay Member access only

Richard Hammar explains legal and tax matters for planning a pastor's compensation.
Essential Guide to Youth Ministry Safety

Essential Guide to Youth Ministry Safety Member access only

Help youth ministers safely and appropriately conduct student ministry with this resource.