Key point. "Love gifts" made by churches and church members to clergy constitute taxable compensation for services performed rather than nontaxable gifts.
The United States Tax Court ruled that "love gifts" made by a church to its pastor represented taxable compensation. A church had 25 to 30 active members and as many as 7 ministers, and offered services three days each week. The lead pastor had informed the church's board of directors that he did not want to be paid a salary for his pastoral services but would not be opposed to receiving "love offerings," gifts, or loans from the church.
The pastor and his wife managed the church's checking account, and jointly signed all of the church's checks. They signed numerous checks in 2012, made payable to the pastor, with handwritten notations such as "Love Offering" or "Love Gift" on the memo line. The church transferred "love offerings" to other members of the church, including the pastor's wife.