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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Form 4361 Tax Exemption for Ministers


Thank you for any advice you can give.  I am a licensed and ordained minster.  I filed for a 4361 tax-exemption in 2005.  It was rejected because I attached the wrong ordination information.  I resubmitted the correct information and never received a response or approved 4361.  I assumed things were filled and I was approved.  

For the last 7 years I have always marked and filled as if I have an approved 4361 form assuming it was a document held onto by the IRS.  A recent tax seminar has reveled that I may not have ever been approved!  How should I proceed forward?  There is a 2-year limit on applying for a 4361 and I definitely don't want to pay back taxes over 7 years for a clerical error.  Again, I am a licensed minister and have been a licensed minister the whole duration in question.  Any help is greatly appreciated!  Thank you.


Thanks for your question.

Assuming that you were approved for the exemption does not make it so. The first thing you need to determine is if you were approved.  You should contact the IRS or have a CPA, tax attorney, or enrolled agent do so on your behalf. If you have been approved, everything is fine.

If you were not approved, you can appeal the case to the IRS, stating you never received the second rejection.  Whether it will succeed or not depends on how well you can document and present your case.

If it was not approved you are liable for the taxes for the past years.  Possibly you could negotiate a reduction in the amount due.  I can sympathize with you not wanting to pay taxes for the back years due to a clerical error, but the bottom line would be that you owed those taxes and should have paid then each year.  That will be the position of the IRS.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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The CPA Journal, Florida CPA Today, Green Consumer, Green Business, Global Sustainability as a Business Imperative, Palmetto Review, NATP TaxPro Quarterly, Mustang Journal of Finance and Accounting.

DBA University of Memphis MBA University of Georgia BS in Accounting Mars Hill University

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