Tax Preparation for Pastors, Priests and Ministers

Tax preparation is challenging for the general public, but it can be even more complicated for members of the clergy. Unfortunately, tax reform continues to muddy the waters even further; clergy members who had a firm grasp on what was legal (and what was not) are facing changes that, if not adhered to, can lead to massive fines.

Talk to our clergy tax professionals who have experience helping churches and their employees tackle the specialized tax issues that they face.

Housing Allowance

Many ministers are granted a housing allowance as one of their benefits; this can be challenging come tax time. Many pastors believe their housing allowance is completely tax-free, but that’s not the case. A tax professional with church-related experience can walk you through the do’s and don’ts to ensure that your tax returns are compliant.

Accountable Reimbursement Plans

Under the current tax law clergy members are not able to claim a deduction for unreimbursed expenses. This makes an accountable reimbursement plan critical to a pastor’s compensation package. When clergy members are granted an accountable plan they are reimbursed for qualified out of pocket expenses. For assistance with properly structuring your pastors compensation package contact us.

Payroll & Social Security

Churches and payroll are often at odds. Many churches lack knowledge on how to handle their payroll properly. Which can increase the risk of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Leaving it in the hands of paid professionals will not only save time, but it will ensure that your church stays on the right side of the law.

Dual Status

If you are recognized as a pastor by the standards of the Internal Revenue Service, you are considered a dual status employee. This means that you will be treated as an employee for benefit purposes; so you will qualify for church provided benefits (health insurance, retirement plan, etc.). However, you are treated as self-employed for income tax and social security purposes. Still confused, contact Ascension CPA for clarity.


Yes, pastors love their jobs; but it’s nice to have the option to retire when the time comes. Churches and members of the clergy can work together with their financial advisor and an experienced accountant to ensure that money is set aside for the future. In addition to planning for retirement, an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) could reduce a ministers’ tax burden by taking advantage of the tax deduction that’s permitted for contributions to a traditional IRA.

Estimated Tax Payments

A tax professional with church experience can help clergy members plan for their inevitable tax bill. In fact, they can help you make estimated payments to ensure that you’re not caught short when tax season rolls around. It’s important to work with tax pros who have experience in tax preparation for pastors so you can be sure that you’re paying the right amount at the right time.

Tax Consultation for Clergy

Trust the Experts

The demands of the ministry leave little time to delve into the intricacies of the tax code.

Why not trust the experts? Ascension CPA has professionals ready to take away the stress and anxiety that is often felt when trying to file the tax return on your own. If you’re ready to unload the stress, let’s talk.

Tax law is complex, and when you add the additional tax issues related to clergy, they can be overwhelming. Ascension CPA’s accurate, fast, and forward-thinking tax services help members of the clergy with even the most complicated tax preparation.

When you rely on Ascension CPA’s tax professionals, tax season is stress-free. Whether you use a simple form 1040 or your tax situation is more convoluted, we’ve got the knowledge and experience to navigate tax returns with ease.

Ascension CPA’s founders, Jamie Ward and Cassidi Heltcel, both have firsthand experience with the complexities related to clergy taxes. Jamie himself was a minister, and he grew up in a pastor’s home, while Cassidi’s husband was a youth pastor and has done extensive research into church-related taxes. Both have done a great deal of research into church taxes, as they’ve been personally invested in the topic.

Frequently Asked Questions

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