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New MinisterWeekly Lessons

Continuing education for ministry leaders
New Minister
Weekly Lessons, created and written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, give you a basic legal overview of essential topics based on staff or volunteer positions within a church.

This Week's LessonWeek of September 16

Should I Opt Out of Social Security?


This lesson examines what new ministers need to know about social security. The Executive Summary provides a concise review of the key points. Before we get started, test your knowledge by completing the following quiz.


Executive Summary

The coverage of ministers under Social Security has caused much confusion because of two special rules. First, ministers always are self-employed for Social Security with respect to their ministerial services. This means they pay the self-employment tax, not "Social Security" and "Medicare" taxes. Second, under very limited circumstances, ministers can exempt themselves from self-employment taxes with respect to services they perform in the exercise of ministry by filing a timely Form 4361 with the IRS. The treatment of ministers under Social Security is the subject of this lesson. We will give special attention to this of opting out of Social Security

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