What should churches consider when classifying ministers as employees or self-employed?

Tests used by the IRS and federal courts would classify most ministers as employees for income tax purposes. Remember that most ministers have a dual tax status. Generally, they are employees for income tax purposes but are always self-employed for Social Security purposes with respect to their ministerial income.

The United States Tax Court applied this seven-factor test to ministers in 1994 when deciding if they were employees or self-employed for income tax purposes:

  1. The degree of control the employer has over the details of the work.
  2. Which party invests in the facilities used for the work.
  3. The opportunity the worker has for profit or loss.
  4. Whether the employer has the right to discharge the worker.
  5. Whether the work is part of the employer's regular business.
  6. The permanency of the relationship.
  7. The relationship the parties think they are creating.

For more information, visit GuideStone.org/TaxGuide 

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