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Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Status—Ordained, Commissioned, or Licensed

§ 1.04
Key point 1-04. A number of federal and state statutes use the terms ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister. If these terms are defined by a statute, then this definition ordinarily controls even if it conflicts with the definitions adopted by a religious body. If they are not defined by statute, then the civil courts will define them based on applicable precedent.

It is sometimes important to determine whether a minister is ordained, commissioned, or licensed. To illustrate, the Internal Revenue Code exempts wages paid for services by "a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church" from income tax withholding;[40] I.R.C. § 3401(a)(9). permits a "duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church" to apply for exemption from Social Security coverage under certain circumstances;[41] Id. at § 1402(e). treats a "duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ...

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This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.