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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Minister's expense account


Our minister has a ministry expense account.  Over the years, he has submitted receipts justifying his expense account.  In fact, he has generated an excess of expenses that go beyond his annual expense amount.  On a monthly basis, he turns in a very tidy record of expenses including receipts and slowly, the amount has grown to roughly $4500.00.  ($4500 in expenses beyond his ministry expense account.)  He is now retiring and is requesting the $4500 to be reimbursed.  Do these expenses carry over from year to year?  Can he request these be reimbursed?

Thanks!  Mark


Thanks for your question.

Probably not. Normally, they do not carry over year-to-year. Basically he is asking the church to change their past policy on reimbursements retroactivelly.

Additionally, the IRS requires that the expenses be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days of incurring the cost.  It does not say anything about how quickly the reimbursement must occur, but give the time frame involved, it could be risky.

Also, if he deducted the expenses not reimbursed in the year incurred, he would have to include the reimbursement in his current year's income.

Hope this helps. Although there is no black-and-white answer, it seems to be a questionable proposal.  If the church wants to do that, I would recommend just giving him a $4500 retirement bonus or something of that sort.

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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