Can a church pay FICA for a minister to save the minister money?

No. A church cannot pay FICA for someone who is a minister for tax purposes. By law, ministers are always treated as self-employed for Social Security purposes and therefore are subject to SECA taxes on their ministerial earnings. Churches that pay FICA for their ministers are not doing them a favor — they are violating the law. When churches mistakenly pay FICA for ministers, they can cause errors in Social Security Administration records that may affect future benefits.

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