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Nonprofit Law/Reverends of a 501(c) church practicing in their home


If a bonafide reverend of a 501(c) church practices counseling (or spiritual exercises) in his/her home and the recipient gives a donation to the reverend is this donation tax exempt?

I have in my profile that this free forum is only for general questions relating to IRS federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. The IRS allows the church to have spiritual counseling as long as the church maintains its regular group worship meetings.

See IRS Publication 517 "Social Security and Other Information for
the Members of the Clergy and Other Religious Workers" at:
starting on the bottom right of page 8 is "Income tax: Income and Expenses" with:
--- Start of Excerpt ---
Offerings and Fees
If you are a member of  the clergy, you must  in­
clude  in your  income offerings and fees you re­
ceive  for  marriages,  baptisms,  funerals,
masses, etc., in addition to your salary. If the of­
fering is made to the religious institution, it is not
taxable to you.
---End of Excerpt---

If the "etc" may refers to individual counseling services, then the income is taxable to the clergy.  Whether the etc is included is beyond the scope of this free forum, because it is not an issue of the exemption of the church, but of the individual taxes of the clergy. I would be willing to work on your matter, but I would need to spend a substantial amount of time and that would be beyond the scope of my offer of free services.  If you want to inquire about hiring me for such work, please contact me directly to the email address below.

Note also that states and the District of Columbia also regulate psychological counseling and, therefore, we would want to consult the DC code to see what the clergy could and could not do under the "counseling" that the clergy is either advertizing or doing.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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