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Ministers’ Tax Guide

Ministerial tax issues can be complicated. GuideStone® wants to serve those who serve the Lord by providing these resources to help answer the most common tax-related issues affecting ministers and churches.

2020 Ministers’ Tax Guide for 2019 Returns

This popular annual tax guide, written by Richard Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, includes sample tax returns for both active and retired ministers and step-by-step instructions for each. This edition contains a special supplement addressing the current status of the parsonage and housing allowance exclusions. Additionally, church treasurers and other church leaders will find a valuable resource in the guide’s special section about important federal reporting requirements for churches at the end of the publication.

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Single File: Tax Return Preparation Guide
President's Message, Table of Contents & Special Supplement
Part 1: Introduction

Download Part 1: Introduction

  • How to Use This Guide
  • Tax Highlights for 2019
  • Preliminary Questions
Part 2: Special Rules for Ministers

Download Part 2: Special Rules for Ministers

  • Who is a minister for federal tax purposes?
  • Are ministers employees or self-employed for federal tax purposes?
  • Exemption from SECA
  • How do ministers pay their taxes?
Part 3: Step-by-Step Tax Return Preparation

Download Part 3: Step-by-Step Tax Return Preparation

  • Tax Forms and Schedules (Definitions)
  • Form 1040 (Steps)
  • Other Forms and Schedules (Steps)
    • Schedules A, B, C, SE, Form 8959 Additional Medicare Tax, Form 2106
Part 4: Comprehensive Examples and Sample Forms

Download Part 4: Comprehensive Examples and Sample Forms

Example One: Active Minister

  • Sample Forms: (Forms W-2 (Church and College), Schedule C, Schedule SE, QBI Deduction (Form 8995), Form 1040, Schedule 1, and Schedule 2)

Example Two: Retired Minister

  • Sample Forms: (Form 1099-R, Schedule C, Schedule SE, QBI Deduction (Form 8995), Form 1040, Schedule 1, and Schedule 2)
Part 5: Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches
An Addendum to the Tax Return Preparation Guide

Passed in late December 2019, the SECURE Act greatly affects the retirement industry and was not included in the initial publication of the 2020 Ministers’ Tax Guide for 2019 Returns. Richard Hammar has provided additional commentary that addresses how its 6 main changes will benefit churches and staff.

Download Six Provisions from the SECURE Act

Find IRS forms, instructions and publications at IRS.gov or call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

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Additional Resources

Ministerial Tax Issues

There are multiple tax rules that apply only to ministers and churches. This specialized booklet is written in an easy-to-understand question and answer format. It will prove to be a valuable resource for those who are Ministers for Tax Purposes.

Get Your Free Copy

Social Security

Opting out of Social Security is not a decision you should take lightly, which is why GuideStone is here to provide the detailed and accurate information you need to make an informed choice.

Read the Article

Is it ethical for ministers to opt out of Social Security? Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, shares insight for those considering this critical decision.

Read the Article

Compensation Planning Guide

As a church, you have a responsibility to take care of those who serve you while seeking to be good stewards of your limited financial resources. This workbook can help you achieve that goal. It is designed for use by the person(s) who determines pay arrangements for ministers and other church employees.

Find out More

Minister's Housing Allowance Questions and Answers

The minister's housing allowance is the most important tax benefit available to ministers. Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code allows "ministers of the gospel" to exclude some or all of their ministerial income designated by their church or church-related employer as a housing allowance from income for federal income tax purposes. Read more about the rules and limits.

Find Answers to 25 Commonly Asked Questions Here

We’re always here for assistance or to answer any questions you may have. Contact us at 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST Monday–Friday. You can also email us at info@GuideStone.org.