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IRS Announces 2018 Mileage Rates
Church leaders can track and report mileage for proper reimbursement.
IRS Announces 2018 Mileage Rates
Image: Zac Ong / Unsplash

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the new standard mileage rates for 2018. Starting on January 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup, or panel truck will be:

  • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the 2017 rate
11 Ways to Love Your Leader
Tips for making the most of Pastor Appreciation Month.
11 Ways to Love Your Leader
Image: Joanna Kosinska / Unsplash

Some days I suspect the speed of change is surpassing the speed of sound.

The explosion of change in technology, communication, and the world booms all around. In the clamor, I anchor myself to the ancient truths found in the person of Jesus of Christ.

I’m not alone.

Millions ...

5 Takeaways from the Clergy Housing Allowance Ruling
What a federal judge’s opinion does—and doesn’t—mean at this point.
5 Takeaways from the Clergy Housing Allowance Ruling
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Editor’s Note: Last Friday, Judge Barbara Crabb of the District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin struck down the ministerial housing allowance as an unconstitutional preference for religion. Senior Editor Richard R. Hammar offers five takeaways from this ruling, ...

Wisconsin Federal Judge: Housing Allowance Violates Establishment Clause
What a recent ruling might mean for pastors.
Wisconsin Federal Judge: Housing Allowance Violates Establishment Clause
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On October 6, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the housing allowance provided to clergy by the Internal Revenue Code is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

A similar ruling had been handed down in 2013 by the same Wisconsin judge, ...

Estimated Inflation-Adjusted Key Tax Figures for 2018
How your church may be affected.
Estimated Inflation-Adjusted Key Tax Figures for 2018
Image: Jeff Sheldon / Unsplash

Various tax news outlets have released inflation-adjusted estimates to key tax figures for 2018. This is useful information for planning as we approach 2018.

Among the estimates published by the Thomson Reuters Checkpoint tax service are:

  • The minimum charitable contribution and maximum cost of a token gift offered in return are estimated to increase to $54.50 and $10.90 respectively (up from $53.50 and $10.70).
IRS Provides Relief for Victims of Hurricane Harvey
What to know about this tax-free assistance.
IRS Provides Relief for Victims of Hurricane Harvey
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As the number of counties included in federally declared disaster areas grows, the IRS is actively issuing announcements to provide relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Generally, the relief provisions described below are provided to victims residing in or employed in ...

Reducing Taxes Through Adjustments and Deductions
What ministers and staff members can—and can’t—do with their filings.
Reducing Taxes Through Adjustments and Deductions
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Working on taxes is an overwhelming and difficult task. You want to be sure you file everything correctly while also being as kind as possible to your bank account. Even more challenging is when tax laws change, and 2016 brought at least 91 such changes that affect reporting ...

Five Free Tax Articles for Churches and Clergy
Available for a limited time.
Five Free Tax Articles for Churches and Clergy
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"The preparation of ministers’ tax returns presents a number of challenging issues that often are not well understood," writes Richard Hammar in "Avoiding Costly Tax-filing Mistakes." "This can lead to innocent mistakes, which in turn can lead ...

IRS Extends Deadline for Some ACA Reporting Requirements
Employers receive more time for providing employees with specific forms.
IRS Extends Deadline for Some ACA Reporting Requirements
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The IRS has extended the due date of some (not all) of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for employers to provide forms to employees, according to national CPA and consulting services firm CapinCrouse. This was done by the IRS “to give employers, insurers, and ...

What Would Repealing the Johnson Amendment Actually Mean for Churches?
How a repeal of the amendment that prohibits political endorsements could affect pastors and churches.
What Would Repealing the Johnson Amendment Actually Mean for Churches?
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During this year’s election season, many churches and pastors have likely heard that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has indicated he is in favor of repealing the Johnson Amendment, which governs the political activity of churches. The repeal of the Johnson ...

Interview: The Definition—and Danger—of 'Inurement'
Richard Hammar offers a definition for a common mistake that can have serious consequences.
Interview: The Definition—and Danger—of 'Inurement'
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While you may have heard the word “inurement,” you may be unsure of its definition. In this interview, Richard Hammar provides a definition of inurement.

Could inurement have implications for a church’s tax-exempt status? Hammar addresses instances where ministries ...

How Long Should I Keep Income Tax Records?
Know what to hold on to after your form is sent in.
How Long Should I Keep Income Tax Records?
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You must keep records so that you can prepare a complete and accurate income tax return. The law does not require any special form of records. However, you should keep all receipts, canceled checks, and other evidence to prove amounts you claim as deductions, exclusions, or ...

Meeting IRS Requirements When a Pastor Runs for Office
How one church navigated the tricky issue of political involvement.
Meeting IRS Requirements When a Pastor Runs for Office
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With the 2016 presidential election coming up, many churches and ministry leaders may wonder what they can and cannot do when it comes to politics. Is there a line, and, if so, when do you cross it?

Churches are required to remain impartial toward candidates, yet church leaders ...

The Causes and History of Church Property Tax-Exemption
A podcast interview with Frank Sommerville reveals the long, world history of religious exemption.
The Causes and History of Church Property Tax-Exemption
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Why are churches exempt from property taxes? When was this decided in the United States and by whom? What is the history of tax-exemption behind the decision?

Frank Sommerville, an attorney, CPA, and editorial advisor for Church Law & Tax, discusses the answers to those ...

Experts Featured in Upcoming Church Management Conference
Editorial advisors will present on employment law, health care reform, and more.
Experts Featured in Upcoming Church Management Conference
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The annual Southern Baptist Business Officers Conference (SBBOC) this March in Dallas will help churches learn the latest information on employment law, tax, and compliance issues, and health care reform updates.

A number of editorial advisors from Christianity Today's ...

IRS: Special Church Audit Protection Law Applies to Employment Tax Inquiries and Examinations
How this recent announcement affects churches.
IRS: Special Church Audit Protection Law Applies to Employment Tax Inquiries and Examinations
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The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that it will apply the special church audit protection rules in Internal Revenue Code Section 7611 to church employment tax inquiries and examinations. Prior to the recent announcement, the IRS’s official position was ...

Q&A: Does the Affordable Care Act's "Cadillac Tax" Affect Churches?
This confusing topic is gaining media coverage. Here's what churches should know.
Q&A: Does the Affordable Care Act's "Cadillac Tax" Affect Churches?
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Media coverage is increasing with respect to the Affordable Care Act's so-called "Cadillac tax." Even though it now doesn't become applicable until 2020, what do employers—including churches—need to know about this tax?

It's a 40 percent tax, ...

The Top Church Management Conferences for 2016
Training across the nation to gain knowledge in financial, legal, and risk matters.
The Top Church Management Conferences for 2016
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A number of conferences are available for those who work with legal, financial, and risk management matters for their church. Here are some we recommend:

1. 2016 XP-Seminar

This event, led by XPastor.org founder David Fletcher, educates and encourages executive pastors, ...

A Tax Reminder for Church Bulletins
Before the end of the year, send this message to your congregation.
A Tax Reminder for Church Bulletins
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Donors must substantiate individual cash contributions of $250 or more “by a contemporaneous written acknowledgment of the contribution by the donee organization.” Donors cannot substantiate individual cash contributions of $250 or more with canceled checks. They ...

After the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, What Legal Rights Do Pastors, Churches Have?
Understanding the officiating of ceremonies and the use of buildings for weddings.
After the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, What Legal Rights Do Pastors, Churches Have?
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In late June, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, and many pastors are wondering what this means for their work and their church. Richard R. Hammar, a well-known attorney specializing in legal issues for churches, helps clear the ...

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Sex Offenders in the Church

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Legal and safety concerns to address when dealing with a sex offender.
Creating a Disaster Preparation and Response Plan

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Learn the steps you can take now so you are ready to respond if a crisis unfolds.