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December 31, 2019

  • Churches must designate a portion of each minister’s compensation as a housing allowance by this date in order for ministers who own or rent their homes to receive the full benefit of a housing allowance exclusion for calendar year 2020. The designation should be adopted during a regular or special meeting of the church board, and should be contained in the written minutes of the meeting.
  • Churches should designate a parsonage allowance for any minister who lives in a parsonage and who is expected to pay some of the expenses of maintaining the parsonage (e.g., utilities, furnishings, repairs, improvements, yard care).
  • Donors must deliver checks on or by this date in order to claim a charitable contribution deduction for 2019. Checks that are placed in the church offering during the first worship service in 2020 will not qualify for a charitable contribution deduction in 2019, even if the check is predated to 2019 or was actually written in 2019. However, checks that are written, mailed, and postmarked in 2019 will be deductible in 2019 even though they are not received by a church until 2020.
  • An employee’s marital status on this date determines his or her filing status for the year.
  • If you have a minister or lay worker who is treated as self-employed for federal income tax reporting purposes, but who you would like to reclassify as an employee, the ideal time to make the change is on January 1, 2020.

Note: If a date listed for filing a return or making a tax payment falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday (either national or statewide in a state where the return is required to be filed), the return or tax payment is due on the following business day.

Note: You must use electronic funds transfer to make all federal employment tax deposits. This is generally done using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, a free service provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury. If you don't wish to use EFTPS, you can arrange for your tax professional, financial institution, or payroll service to make deposits on your behalf. Failure to make a timely deposit may subject you to a 10-percent penalty.

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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  • December 2, 2019

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