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The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2017
Immigration law, hurricane response, the housing allowance: what readers kept clicking on this year.
The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2017
Image: Kelly Jean / Unsplash

This past year’s most popular articles on ManagingYourChuch.com show the wide variety of financial, legal, safety, and tax matters that church leaders face. This list is based on unique page views in 2017 of articles published throughout the year.

10.“9 Tips for Planning ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

The ACA Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee
Some self-insured health plans are required to pay by July 31.
The ACA Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee
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With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some issuers of specified health insurance policies and plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans are required to pay a fee that helps fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The fee is ...

Q&A: Tracking Receipts
Why one church has only one credit card
Q&A: Tracking Receipts
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Church business administrators are sometimes given the responsibility of asking pastors or other church staff for receipts from purchases for the church that they made on church credit cards. Some have found thatusing phone apps has helped, but what have you found to be the ...

Q&A: Are Housing Expenses Paid Directly By a Church Nontaxable?
Q&A: Are Housing Expenses Paid Directly By a Church Nontaxable?
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Some churches pay part or all of a minister’s housing expenses directly. Can such payments be treated as a nontaxable housing al­lowance?

It could be argued that by agreeing to pay for a minister’s housing expenses, a church is, in effect, designating a housing ...

Pastors Must Pay Taxes
Calling compensation a "love gift" doesn't shield it from taxation.
Pastors Must Pay Taxes
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In this audio interview with podcast host Tony Gill, Richard Hammar discusses misconceptions churches have about how tax law relates to pastors. For further insights into the issues covered in this interview, see Hammar's "Why Pastors Must Pay Federal Income Taxes" ...

Designating a Housing Allowance
Make sure you do it right.
Designating a Housing Allowance
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Many churches are lax in their housing allowance designations. Internal Revenue Regulation 1.107(b) requires that in order to be housing allowance, the amount must be designated as such pursuant to an official action taken in advance of the payment of the allowance by the ...

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Setting Wages and Benefits for Church Staff

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