Finance & Administrative Resources

for Church Leaders


Ministers are duly ordained, commissioned or licensed by a religious body.


  • They are performing ministerial duties. In general, ministerial duties are defined by the following:

    • the performance of sacerdotal functions;

    • conducting religious worship

    • administering religious organizations

    • teaching at theological seminaries

  • If licensed or commissioned only, they must have the authority to perform "substantially all" the religious functions of an ordained minister. (marriages, funerals, baptisms, communion, preaching & be considered a spiritual leader by his or her religious body)


Ministers have a dual tax status

  • They are considered "employees' for income tax purposes (Issue Form W-2)

  • They are considered "self-employed" for the purposes of Social Security & Medicare. 

  • They pay SECA (self-employed tax) rather than the employee's share of Social Security and Medicare.

  • Ministers can request an exemption from SE tax by filing Form 4361 in triplicate in a timely manner.

  • Wages paid for ministerial services are exempt from mandatory income tax withholding. 

  • However, ministers are not exempt from paying federal income taxes. They must prepay their income taxes using the estimated tax reporting procedure.

  • Ministers may choose to do this by entering into a voluntary withholding agreement with the church by completing a W-4 Form.

  •  See IRS Publication 517 for additional information.


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The Supreme Court voted by a narrow majority last week to mandate state recognition of same-sex marriage across the United States. In light of this decision, church leaders are asking what's next and considering proactive steps to protect churches from legal liability while holding fast to their missions of spreading the truth of the Gospel in love.


The issues are complex- both deeply theological and with extensive legal implications. We make the following resources available to you as guidance and is not intended to substitute for legal counsel specific to your church's own circumstances. Consequently, it is recommended that knowledgeable nonprofit legal counsel be sought for specific questions and particular issues. 


Protecing Your Ministry


Church Guidance for Same-Sex Issues


PO Box 607

Georgetown, TX 78627

​​Telephone : ​512-930-0965


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