Meet Our Co-Founder and Senior Editor

Co-Founder & Senior Editor

Richard R. Hammar

Richard R. Hammar is an attorney with inactive status through the Missouri Bar Association, and he holds his CPA certificate from the Missouri State Board of Accountancy. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and attended Harvard Divinity School.

Rich specializes in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy. He is senior editor of and the author of several books published by Church Law & Tax, including Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition, the annual Church & Clergy Tax Guide, and Reducing the Risk, a child sexual abuse awareness training program.

Rich wrote the first edition of Pastor, Church & Law in 1983. He co-founded the Church Law & Tax Report and Church Finance Today print newsletters—the precursors to—in 1987 and 1993, respectively, and other related resources with James Cobble. He has contributed articles or comments to numerous journals and publications, including Christianity Today, Christian Century, and Enrichment.

Rich is a frequent speaker at legal and tax conferences, occasionally teaches church law at seminaries and colleges, and often consults with attorneys, CPAs, and church and denominational leaders on legal and tax issues. He has been a lecturer at the annual Washington Nonprofit Legal and Tax Conference; addressed a National Institute of the American Bar Association on the tort liability of charitable and religious organizations; has been a featured speaker at the annual Program on Philanthropy and Law sponsored by the New York University School of Law; and has taught continuing education seminars at several institutions, including Princeton Theological Seminary and Emory University.

Rich has been inducted into the church management “hall of fame” by The Church Network, and has served on the boards of several prominent charities, including the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

He is a member with inactive status for the Missouri Bar Association, and a past member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He was admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court. In 2009, he became a Registered Parliamentarian by successfully completing a qualifying examination administered by the National Association of Parliamentarians. He joined the ranks of 270 other Registered Parliamentarians in the United States.

Recent posts by Richard R. Hammar

Key Tax Dates October 2023

Key tax dates for October 2023 include employees with six-month extensions for filing 2022 tax returns, among others.

Key Tax Dates June 2023

Key tax dates in June include housing allowance designations, quarterly payments, and monthly or semiweekly requirements.

Key Tax Dates May 2023

Along with monthly and semiweekly requirements, May includes several quarterly filings and forms for churches, ministries, and church-run schools.

Key Tax Dates February 2023

Among other important items, quarterly federal tax returns are due along with Affordable Care Act forms 1095-C and 1094-C for employers with 50 or more FTEs.

Key Tax Dates June 2022

Review housing allowance designations, make quarterly payments, and meet monthly or semiweekly requirements.

Key Tax Dates June 2021

Review housing allowance designations, make quarterly payments, and meet monthly or semiweekly requirements.

Key Tax Dates May 2021

Along with monthly and semiweekly requirements, note quarterly filing, individual tax returns and contributions, and forms pertinent to your church or ministry.

The High Cost of Fraud

New study offers insights on why it happens, how it’s detected, and characteristics of both victims and perpetrators.

15 Things Richard Hammar Wants Pastors to Know

Governing Documents

Understand the importance of church constitution and bylaws.

15 Things Richard Hammar Wants Pastors to Know

Church Insurance

Determine if your church has the right insurance.

15 Things Richard Hammar Wants Pastors to Know

Child Abuse Reporting

Learn what it means to be a mandatory reporter and state-by-state reporting requirements.

A Gift Freely Given?

When an elderly woman named the church a beneficiary to her estate, her family sued for undue influence. How to protect the validity of donor gifts.

Stopping a Shooter

How church leaders can work to prevent a violent incident—or respond if one occurs.

Coverage Denied

Failure to notify the insurance company of a claim cost one church $2.3 million. Five tips for avoiding a similar mistake.

Keeping Secrets

Your church must be careful with the confidential information it controls.

Making a Claim

Failure to promptly notify your church’s insurer can result in loss of coverage.

Concealed Weapons in Church

Video Series: Does a state law prohibiting concealed weapons in church violate church member's constitutional rights to bear arms and practice their religion?


Avoiding copyright infringement in church sites and social media

Same-Sex Marriage

Will pastors have to perform marriages contrary to their religious beliefs?

Sex Offenders in Church

1. Introduction Church leaders are increasingly confronted with a challenging and novel question: How do

Health Care Reform

In March 2010, President Obama signed two major health care bills into law, despite ongoing

Call to Order

Churches can and should select a specific body of parliamentary procedure by an appropriate clause in the church's governing document.

Zoned Out

Why churches end up on the outskirts of town—and what you can do about it.

Whose Church Is It?

California Supreme Court rules on ownership issue between national Episcopal church and local parish that seceded.

Parking Lot Safety

This article has addressed shootings and other violent crimes inside churches. Criminal acts also may

Church Lock-ins

• Article summary. The twentieth century witnessed the emergence of a church activity without precedent

Jesus Was Insured

A 22-foot-tall statue of Jesus, with outstretched arms, was erected in 1954 at the Mother


A federal appeals court ruled that state employees violated the fourth amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures when they searched a church school's property.

Privacy – Part 2

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): Application to church websites.

Church Vans

Article summary.Many churches own 15-passenger vans, and most use them exclusively to transport children and

Privileged and Confidential Communications

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that statements made by a pastor to a denominational official concerning his wife's sudden death in a bathtub were not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Child Abuse Reporting

A Wisconsin court ruled that a school principal who disclosed to an alleged child abuser the identities of the school employees who reported the abuse could be prosecuted.

Retirement Plans

The IRS ruled that ministers' housing allowances are not "compensation" for purposes of computing the contribution limits to a tax-sheltered annuity ("403(b) plan").


A federal appeals court ruled that the revocation of a church's tax-exempt status by the IRS could not be challenged.

Negligence as a Basis for Liability

A Missouri court ruled that a church was not responsible for an associate pastor's sexual relationship with a church secretary while she was hospitalized.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

A federal court in North Carolina ruled that the first amendment did not prevent it from resolving a sexual harassment claim brought by two nonminister church employees against their church.

Defamation of Pastors

A Louisiana court issues an important decision-Steed v. St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 1999 WL 92626 (La. App. 1999)

The Discipline of Nonmembers

A Michigan court issues an important ruling-Smith v. Calvary Christian Church, 1998 WL 842259 (Mich. App. 1998) [Invasion of Privacy, Church Members,The Establishment Clause]

The Risks of Inaction

An Ohio court issues an important ruling-Evans v. Ohio State University, 680 N.E.2d 161 (Ohio 1996) [Negligence as a Basis for Liability]

Embezzlement Defined

The definition of embezzlement varies slightly from state to state, but in general it refers