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Deadline Nears for Pastors' Housing Designations
Act now so that pastors can receive this tax benefit in 2011.

Churches must designate a portion of each minister's compensation as a housing allowance by December 31 in order for ministers who own or rent their homes to receive the full benefit of a housing allowance exclusion for calendar year 2011. The designation should be adopted during ...

Endorsing Political Candidates from the Pulpit
A new LifeWay survey shows pastors strongly oppose endorsements.

A majority of pastors believe churches should not publicly endorse political candidates, a new LifeWay Research survey shows.

Phone interviews conducted randomly in early October with 1,000 church pastors, ministers, and priests revealed 70 percent strongly disagreed and 14 ...

30% Discount on Church Law, Tax, and Finance Resources
Sale in honor of church administration day on October 21.

Our friends at the National Association for Church Business Administration have designated Thursday, October 21, as "National Church Administration Day." As NACBA explains it on its website:

"The idea behind National Church Administration Day is for seasoned church leaders to ...
Medical Allowances and Health Savings Accounts
Can churches legally designate medical allowances for pastor health plans?

Question: We are entertaining the idea of changing our health care coverage to a HSA (Health Saving Account)-compatible policy. Presently our three pastors receive a designated amount of medical allowances each year to help them cover the costs of out-of-pocket moneies that ...

Legislation Drops Cell Phones from "Listed Property"
But churches shouldn't make changes until the IRS issues its guidance.

The small business tax relief legislation just passed by Congress and signed by the president includes a long-awaited provision removing cell phones from "listed property" under federal tax law effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2009. As a result, the stringent ...

Case Threatens Pastor Housing Allowances
How a California court may alter a long-standing ministry benefit.

Earlier this month, we covered eight federal issues that local churches should watch closely during the remainder of 2010 and into 2011, according to recent remarks from Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Busby, one of our editorial ...

ChurchSafety.com’s Top 10 Training Resources
What other church leaders are reading and using to keep their congregations safe.

ChurchSafety.com provides expert guidance and risk management information on a broad range of safety topics. We've compiled the Top 10 most-downloaded resources from ChurchSafety.com during the past year. Find out what other church leaders have read and used to train staff and ...

The Your Church Blog's Top 10 Posts from Its First Year

I love milestones. And I'm a sucker for top 10 lists (thank you very much, David Letterman). Since today is August 26, it means the TheYourChurchBlog.com turns 1. Naturally, I went back and looked at our 10 most popular posts for the first year.

But before I do, a few observations ...

Is Your Church Giving Raises This Year?

An interesting post recently surfaced in the Church Admin discussion group hosted on Yahoo:

"Situation: Our church is currently very close to our income and expensebudget for the current year (fiscal year end in December). Last year, the board chose NOT to give any pay increases, ...
Struggling Cities Eye Taxes, Fees for Churches

Like countless other municipalities throughout the country, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is struggling to find ways to bridge the gap between declining tax revenue and the costs of maintaining infrastructure and services.

What makes Fort Wayne stand out is the city's mayor, Tom Henry. ...

Discerning Eyes for Church Law, Finance, and Administration
Known, respected leaders to help guide CTI resources.

Christianity Today International's church management division, which publishes Your Church magazine, the Church Law & Tax Report and Church Finance Today newsletters, plus resources, such as the annual Church & Clergy Tax Guide and ChurchSafety.com, recently formed two important ...

The Top 10 Church Administration Posts for '09
A look at the hottest topics facing pastors and administrators.

As 2009 draws to a close, here's a fun look back at the year's 10 most-read posts on TheYourChurchBlog.com. Doing this kind of review often helps us understand the most pressing issues facing church administrators, executive pastors, pastors, and leaders.

And, it's a nice way ...

IRS Announces Standard Business Mileage Rate for 2010
Rates slightly drop as transportation costs ease.

The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2010 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2010, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car ...

Top 5 Reasons Churches Wind Up in Court

For many years, I've closely reviewed litigation involving churches to identify patterns that pastors and leaders can use to assess their own risks and potential vulnerabilities. In 2008, the following five types of cases brought churches to court more than any others:

1. Sexual ...

Free Excerpt: The Essential Guide to Church Finances

Earlier this year, we released The Essential Guide to Church Finances by Richard Vargo, a professor of accounting in the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, and Vonna Laue, a partner at nonprofit accounting firm Capin Crouse.

Below is a free excerpt, ...

Study: Donations Grow 42% With Face-to-Face Time
Research underscores the power of relationships for church leaders.

A new study about the best ways to secure larger gifts from donors strongly reinforces the central theme of "Asking for Big Gifts," an article in the current issue of Your Church: face-to-face time matters. A lot.

In fact, it matters so much, the study reveals "donors to religious ...

Pinched Paychecks

About half the nation's full-time pastors report they received no salary increase in the past year, continuing a downturn in salaries among top leaders in churches, according to a new survey published by Christianity Today International. In fact, the extensive survey, publishing ...

Richard R. Hammar

Richard Hammar is senior editor for Church Law & Tax Report, and Church Finance Today. He serves as legal counsel to the Assembly of God denomination. He is an attorney and CPA, specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he ...

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Confronting Gun Violence at Church

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Protecting Your Tax-Exempt Status

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Understand the requirements of your tax-exempt status.