Church tax & legal information

Information about IRS laws for pastors and ministers.



Who is a minister for federal tax purposes

The Tax Court ruled in 1987 that a minister is one who:

  • Administers sacraments
  • Conducts religious worship
  • Has management responsibility in a local church or religious denomination
  • Is ordained, commissioned, or licensed, and
  • Is considered to be a religious leader by his or her church denomination

In 1989, the Tax Court ruled that only the fourth factor is required (ordained, commissioned, or licensed) and that a balancing test should be applied with respect to the remaining four factors. This more flexible test was adopted by the IRS in its audit guidelines for ministers. Church, Clergy, and Tax Law by Richard Hammar –  Church Law Today.

Current IRS Laws
Federal Law requires employers to notify employees of their rights under USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act). You will meet this requirement by displaying a notice. For more information visit the United States Department of Labor.

For more information, contact these government agencies:

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