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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Can a faith based 501c3 commission employees?


I work for a faith based 501c3 organization that  works to demonstrate Christ's love by helping to alleviate extreme poverty in impoverished nations.  The organization has multiple ordained pastors on its board of directors, but is not under control of a church.  Can the organization commission its employees that manage the organization and lead devotions with short-term missions teams?  Can the organization provide a housing allowance to those commissioned employees?


Thanks for your question.

Unfortunately not.  The IRS rules state that a minister must be ordained, commissioned, or licensed by a church to perform services in the exercise of ministry.

Those services are further defined as including the ministration of sacerdotal functions; the conduct of religious worship; and the control, conduct and maintenance of religious organizations -- under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination.

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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