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Senior Editorial Advisor

Elaine L. Sommerville

Elaine L. Sommerville

Elaine L. Sommerville

Elaine L. Sommerville is licensed as a certified public accountant by the State of Texas. She has worked in public accounting since 1985. Her practice has and continues to be centered primarily on the tax compliance aspects of nonprofit organizations and churches. She has assisted in the representation of several large case IRS exams as well as other IRS examinations of smaller organizations. Elaine devotes her time to handling various IRS issues for individuals and for exempt organizations of various types. She actively consults on many IRS compliance issues for churches and other nonprofit organizations and prepares information returns of all types for tax exempt organizations.

Elaine is the author of Church Compensation: From Strategic Plan to Compliance (Christianity Today, 2018).

Elaine holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and Information Systems from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. She is the sole shareholder of the CPA firm of Sommerville & Associates, P.C. Located in Arlington, Texas, the firm employs 10 staff members who provide tax, accounting, and consulting services to over 300 churches and nonprofit organizations.

Elaine’s CPA practice is not only centered on nonprofit organizations in areas of tax compliance, but she also has a passion for training those who work for churches and nonprofit organizations and those who work with churches and nonprofit organizations. She is a regular speaker for the Texas Society of CPAs, The Church Network, the Houston Church Coop, and she is an instructor for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA). As an instructor for the AICPA, she teaches eight-hour classes to other CPAs in areas of tax planning for nonprofit organizations and in the preparation of the Form 990. She is a contributing author to various publications produced by Christianity Today and by Thomson Reuters/PPC, including the PPC Nonprofit Tax and Governance Guide.

Elaine is a member of the AICPA, the Texas Society of CPAs, and The Church Network. She also serves on the board of Alive at Last, a ministry dedicated to rescuing young women out of the bondage of sex trafficking.

Elaine became an Editorial Advisor for Church Law & Tax in 2009, and a Senior Editorial Advisor in 2020.

She is married to Frank Sommerville, and they reside in Grand Prairie, Texas. Frank and Elaine have three daughters, one son, three sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. They are longtime members of Gospel Lighthouse Church in Dallas where they are frequent growth group leaders and Elaine serves in the worship ministry. When not consumed by work, church, and/or family, they make their way to Galveston to enjoy the beach.

Recent Articles by Elaine L. Sommerville View All

Q&A: Are Group Health Sharing Plan Costs Eligible for FSA Reimbursement?
ChurchLawAndTax.com

Q&A: Are Group Health Sharing Plan Costs Eligible for FSA Reimbursement? Member access only

Current guidance suggests no—unless it is part of a fully developed and compliant self-insured health plan.
Q&A: Can We Give Additional Income to a Church Employee Who Opts Out of Our Medical Plan?
ChurchLawAndTax.com

Q&A: Can We Give Additional Income to a Church Employee Who Opts Out of Our Medical Plan?

Increasing an employee’s paycheck in lieu of participation may jeopardize your medical insurance plan for all participants.
Q&A: Does a Gift to Support a Camp Counselor Have Tax Implications?
ChurchLawAndTax.com

Q&A: Does a Gift to Support a Camp Counselor Have Tax Implications?

If a payment of $600 or more is intended to help cover the student’s expenses, then it is reported on the student’s Form 1099-MISC.
The Right Way to Handle Wage Classifications
Church Finance Today

The Right Way to Handle Wage Classifications Member access only

Properly applying the Fair Labor Standards Act to church employees.
The Pastor's Sabbatical and Tax Implications
ChurchLawAndTax.com

The Pastor's Sabbatical and Tax Implications Member access only

How duration, expenses, and compensation need to be handled.
Church Finance Today

Q&A: Can an Interim Minister Receive a Housing Allowance? Member access only

The Tax Court's "five-factor test" provides the answers.
Compensation: Handle with Care
Church Finance Today

Compensation: Handle with Care Member access only

Failure to correctly document compensation packages can lead to issues at the state and federal levels.
ChurchLawAndTax.com

Tracking Expenses During Mission Trips

What church leaders should know about documenting expenses in foreign countries