2019 Overview of Tax Issues for Synagogues and other Religious Congregations
19 Pages Posted: 20 May 2010 Last revised: 25 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 19, 2019
The attached revises the guides for synagogues and other religions congregations that I posted in 2010. These new versions reflect applicable law as of June, 2019. They summarize the rules I have been most often asked in the many years I have given advice on these matters, primarily with the Jewish community. One guide is directed specifically at synagogues; the other to religious congregations generally. (I use the term “religious congregations” rather than “churches” to be more inclusive.)
In addition to an overview, each guide discusses: (a) requirements for setting compensation; (b) lobbying and campaign; (c) substantiation of charitable contributions; (d) charitable fundraising; (e) payroll taxes and withholding for clergy; (f) parsonage and housing allowances; and (g) discretionary funds.
These summaries of applicable rules is designed to help lay leaders and congregational staff, whether volunteer or professional. Given their purposes, they do not include citations to the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code or tax regulations. Each topic appears on a single page, so that a particular page or particular pages can be easily distributed as needed. Readers have my permission to distribute these guides in whole or in part.
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