• Representative Leon Panetta (D-CA) has introduced a bill (H.R. 4779) in the House of Representatives that would include housing allowances in clergy compensation for purposes of calculating benefits payable under “defined benefit” pension plans. Many ministers have discovered that maximum annual contributions to a pension plan are tied to a percentage of income. If income is reduced by the amount of a housing allowance, this often will reduce the annual contribution to a pension plan. The Panetta bill, if enacted, would provide clergy with much-needed relief in this area. Unfortunately, however, the bill is limited to “defined benefit” pension plans, which, while popular, do not comprise the only kind of pension plan utilized by clergy.
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