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Recent Developments Regarding an IRS Ruling on Clergy Income Tax

The IRS ruled that three "ordained deacons" in a Methodist church, who served as the ministers of education, music, and stewardship, were "ministers" for federal tax purposes.

Key point. Persons who (1) are ordained, commissioned or licensed; (2) perform sacerdotal functions; (3) conduct worship; (4) are engaged in the "control, conduct, and maintenance of religious organizations"; and (5) who are considered to be religious leaders by their church, qualify as ministers for federal tax purposes.

The IRS ruled that three "ordained deacons" in a Methodist church, who served as the ministers of education, music, and stewardship, were "ministers" for federal tax purposes. After twenty years of study, the Church voted to establish the status of ordained deacon. Prior to this decision, elders were the only ordained members of the clergy. The Church defines ordination as the act of conferring ministerial orders. In accordance with Church traditions, an ordained minister is a baptized person who is called by God, authorized by the Church ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1999

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