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Ministers’ Tax Guide

Ministerial tax issues can be complicated. GuideStone® wants to help make it easier!

As a part of our commitment to serving those who serve the Lord®, we are excited to once again provide our churches, ministries and individual participants with resources to help answer the most common tax-related questions and issues.

2021 Ministers’ Tax Guide for 2020 Returns

Our popular annual tax guide, written by Richard Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, includes sample tax returns for both active and retired ministers and step-by-step instructions for each. This edition accounts for the tax-related effects from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March 2020. Additionally, church treasurers and other church leaders will find a valuable resource in the guide’s special section about important federal reporting requirements for churches at the end of the publication.

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Single File: Tax Return Preparation Guide
President’s Message and Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction

Download Part 1: Introduction

  • How to Use This Guide
  • Tax Highlights for 2020
  • Preliminary Questions
Part 2: Special Rules for Ministers

Download Part 2: Special Rules for Ministers

  • Who is a minister for federal tax purposes?
  • Are ministers employees or self-employed for federal tax purposes?
  • Exemption from SECA
  • How do ministers pay their taxes?
Part 3: Step-by-Step Tax Return Preparation

Download Part 3: Step-by-Step Tax Return Preparation

  • Tax Forms and Schedules (Definitions)
  • Form 1040 (Steps)
  • Other Forms and Schedules (Steps)
    • Schedules A, B, C, SE, Form 8959 Additional Medicare Tax, Form 2106
Part 4: Comprehensive Examples and Sample Forms

Download Part 4: Comprehensive Examples and Sample Forms

Example One: Active Minister

  • Sample Forms: (Forms W-2 (Church and College), Form 1040, Schedule 1, Schedule 2 Schedule A, Schedule C, Schedule SE, QBI Deduction (Form 8995), Tax return attachments

Example Two: Retired Minister

  • Sample Forms: (Form 1099-R from GuideStone, Form 1040, Schedule 1, Schedule 2, Schedule C, Schedule SE, tax return attachments)
Part 5: Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches

Find IRS forms, instructions and publications at IRS.gov or call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

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Additional Resources



Ministerial Tax Issues

There are multiple tax rules that apply only to ministers and churches. This specialized booklet is written in an easy-to-understand question-and-answer format. It will prove to be a valuable resource for those who are Ministers for Tax Purposes.

Get Your Free Copy




Social Security

Opting out of Social Security is not a decision you should take lightly, which is why GuideStone is here to provide the detailed and accurate information you need to make an informed choice.

Read the Article

Is it ethical for ministers to opt out of Social Security? Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, shares insight for those considering this critical decision.

Read the Article




Compensation Planning Guide

As a church, you have a responsibility to take care of those who serve you while seeking to be good stewards of your limited financial resources. This workbook can help you achieve that goal. It is designed for use by the person(s) who determines pay arrangements for ministers and other church employees.

Find out More




Minister's Housing Allowance Questions and Answers

The ministers' housing allowance is a very important tax benefit available to ministers. Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code allows ”ministers of the gospel” to exclude some or all of their ministerial income designated by their church or church-related employer as a housing allowance from income for federal income tax purposes. Read more about the rules and limits.

Find Answers to 25 Commonly Asked Questions Here

We’re always here for assistance or to answer any questions you may have. Contact us at 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday–Friday. You can also email us at info@GuideStone.org.