2015's Top Law and Finance Articles
2015's Top Law and Finance Articles
The headlines and trends that most interested church leaders this year.
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The list of the most popular articles on ChurchLawAndTax.com in 2015 shows the variety of tax, legal, and financial matters that church leaders often encounter in their work. It is little surprise that same-sex marriage was a recurring theme. Other topics leading the way: the Affordable Care Act, reference checks, new overtime rules, and designated contributions.

This list is based on unique page views logged in 2015 for pieces published during the year. Each article is highlighted below, starting with the tenth-most uniquely viewed piece and building up to the first-most. Each item in the list also includes the article’s title, author, and a brief description.

10. Answering Church Leaders’ Common Questions about Background Checks

By Samuel Ogles

Many churches often have questions about background checks. This article addresses 11 of the most common ones.

9. Mastering References Checks for Churches

By Richard R. Hammar

This article addresses 15 common questions that arise when a church either solicits, or responds to, a reference about a prospective employee or volunteer.

8. The Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

By Richard R. Hammar

An in-depth analysis of the Supreme Court’s landmark 5-4 decision recognizing same-sex marriage as a constitutionally protected right, including guidance on what it means for churches and church leaders.

7. Update: The Tax Status of Employer-Paid Medical Insurance

By Richard R. Hammar

The payment or reimbursement of health insurance premiums by employers, a common approach used by many churches to help ministers and staff with insurance costs, is no longer permissible, due to Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interpretations of the Affordable Care Act (except for a one-employee exception). The agencies provided temporary relief for small employers, but instituted mandatory compliance starting July 1, 2015. Those who violate the rule face $100 per day per employee penalties.

6. Workers Eligible for Overtime Pay Likely to Increase

By Richard R. Hammar

DOL proposed a rule drastically increasing the salary thresholds used to determine worker eligibility for overtime. Expected to go into effect sometime in 2016, the changes could represent significant cost increases for employers, including churches with nonministerial employees who are classified as nonexempt from overtime pay.

5. 5 Cash Flow Ratios and Measures Your Church Must Monitor

By Vonna Laue

Editorial Advisor Vonna Laue shares five key indicators a church can follow to maintain financial health and to make proactive adjustments when signs suggest potential problems.

4. Are We Required to Perform or Host Same-Sex Marriage Ceremonies

By Matthew Branaugh

Published just ahead of the Supreme Court’s April 2015 hearings in the Obergefell v. Hodges case regarding same-sex marriage, this Q&A with Senior Editor Richard Hammar provided a then-current lay of the land on this topic.

3. Liability for Ignoring Donors’ Designations

By Richard R. Hammar

A significant new ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court shed light on the liability churches may face if they do not honor designated contributions made by donors.

2. 10 Key Tax Law Updates for 2015

By Richard R. Hammar

The key developments and updates church leaders needed to know for 2014 tax-filing purposes and 2015 duties and responsibilities.

1. Six Questions about the Supreme Court’s Upcoming Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

By Matthew Branaugh

This Q&A with Senior Editor Richard Hammar previewed how the Supreme Court likely would rule in June 2015 on the same-sex marriage case before it.

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.

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