Can a church reject the housing allowance amount a minister requests?
Can a church reject the housing allowance amount a minister requests?
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I submitted what I thought was an appropriate amount to meet my housing needs this year, making certain the request fell within the fair market value of my home, but my church's board rejected it. Is that legal?

I know of no legal requirement that a church must approve a housing allowance for its minister. Stated differently, I do not know of any authority that would confer on a minister a legal right to a housing allowance. Nor do I know of any authority that states that a minister has the right to a housing allowance of a specific amount. In other words, if the church agrees to designate a portion of the minister's compensation to be a housing allowance and the minister submits a worksheet showing his or her expected housing expenses for the coming year, I do not know of any statute or regulation that would legally bind the church to set the minister's housing allowance at a level commensurate with the minister's projected housing expenses. The church and its leadership are free to set the minister's compensation, including the level and composition of that compensation, in the manner the church wishes to.

Posted: June 19, 2018

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