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Designating a Housing Allowance for 2020

Help for setting this important clergy benefit before the new year.

Designating a Housing Allowance for 2020

The housing allowance is the most important tax benefit available to ministers. But many ministers do not take full advantage of it because they (or their tax adviser or church board) are not familiar with the rules.

What can church leaders do to help? Consider the following guidance.

If your minister lives in a church-owned parsonage

Ministers who live in a church-provided parsonage or manse can exclude from their income for federal income tax reporting purposes (1) the fair rental value of the parsonage, and (2) the portion of their compensation designated in advance by the church as a “parsonage allowance”—to the extent that it is used to pay for parsonage-related expenses such as utilities, repairs, and furnishings and does not exceed the fair rental value of the home (furnished, plus utilities).

Recommendation. If your pastor lives in a church-provided parsonage or manse, ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • December 2, 2019

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