Pastor / Clergy Tax Preparation Specialist
Ordained clergy have unique challenges surrounding tax preparation. Let me help you have the peace of mind knowing your tax returns are accurate and follow the IRS rules.
Many C.P.A. tax preparers are NOT experts in the intricacies of clergy tax rules! Think of it this way - would you seek out your family practice physician if you needed back surgery? Of course not! You need a specialist - that's where I can help.
Examples of mistakes I've seen this year alone from 2018 clients of C.P.A. preparation companies:
1. Disregarding rules about social security and Medicare withholdings on W-2s and treating the clergy salary as the same as any other salary.
2. Calculating self-employment tax on housing allowances alone. (Self-employment is calculated on both salary + housing allowance).
3. Using the short form for Self Employment tax calculation rather than the long form in circumstances that required the long form.
4. For missionaries serving abroad, filing a form 2555 (excluding foreign-earned income) a form that is intended for wealthy taxpayers - not foreign missionaries. This mistake costs parents the child tax credit, worth $2000 per child! If your accountant made this mistake, it was likely because the workaround involves significantly more time and effort on the preparer's end. Not your problem. I do NOT charge extra for the workaround, and if you qualify for child tax credits, I will make sure that you receive them.
Consequences of Disregarding Tax Rules
Pastors are in a unique category. The government treats them as self-employed, yet they receive a W-2 statement. They do not have a choice - your accounting and payroll must obey the tax rules, it is not optional. Churches that withhold payroll taxes for clergy, for example, can trigger an audit and lead to a charge of tax evasion for the clergy! Failure to comply with these rules can result in significant additional taxes and penalties for the minister and the employing church. Anyone employing ministers should have an internal specialist address compliance in this area or solicit assistance from a tax adviser who is well versed in the rules. Those advising ministers should also be familiar with these rules to ensure compliance and to help their clients take full advantage of the available tax benefits.
How can Heritage Income Tax help me?
We at Heritage Income Tax will interview and advise you on the tax strategies that will lead to the lowest tax liability for you and your family. We do this for every client. Clergy will receive a detailed interview session (online or in person) with Aubrey, accounting inquiries and an evaluation of W-2s for all ministerial positions. We can advise on IRS approved housing expenses that can be allocated to the housing allowance. We also can provide payroll services through a third party provider. We also offer financial advising and investing services through third party providers who have experiencing helping pastors plan for retirement.
How much do you charge for Clergy Tax Returns? How much do you charge for Foreign Missionary Tax Returns?
Pastor or clergy tax returns start at $150 for a single ordained minister with no dependents or housing allowance. We charge more for multiple W-2s, dependents, multiple parsonages or rental homes. A typical married pastor with 2 children who lives in a parsonage and has an employed spouse will pay around $300 for an annual tax return.
Foreign missionary tax returns have a flat charge of $375 which includes foreign income statement translation, foreign currency statements, pension, dependents, self employment, and foreign tax return translation. We can also amend past tax returns where the taxpayer was entitled to receive child tax credit but the past accountant made errors or chose a strategy that triggered a denial of child tax credit or additional child tax credit. We provide significant discounts for new missionaries who are not ordained ministers, are unmarried, have no dependents or additional schedules.
Make the first step: Call us today. (513) 900 - 9513. Overseas or out of town may inquire at email@example.com
Aubrey L. Corcoran
Pastor/Clergy/Ministerial Taxation Expert
B.A. Converse College 1998
M.A. University of Maryland University College 2006
Income Tax School Graduate