Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/form 4361


QUESTION: Ordained minister is not employed by her church but she travels to conduct church services. The church in trying to help defray the travel costs reimburses her in excess of the volunteer mileage.  This excess mileage reimbursement is given on a 1099 Misc.  Questions:  Is this subject to SS? Would Form 4361 be applicable to a non-paid volunteer minister?  I thought applying for the exemption was only for paid ministers but now I'm wondering if the exemption would also apply in this case.  Thank you.

ANSWER: Ellen,

Thanks for your question.

Not real sure how to answer this and a 1099 should probably not have been issued in this case.  However, since it was, I would treat it as ministerial income and not pay SS tax on it, assuming she has filed 4361 and it has been accepted by the IRS.  Regardless of what you call it, when she was issued a 1099, it moved her out of the volunteer category from the IRS view.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your prompt reply.  How should the excess reimbursement have been reported?  Also, form 4361 wasn't filed because she wasn't employed by the church and wasn't traveling to the churches within the 2 year time so it didn't apply at the time.  The thought never occurred that one day she'd she would be receiving this reimbursement.

I would not report it at all.  As long as it is under the standard mileage rate for business it should not be reported.  This assumes that the mileage reimbursement was under an accountable plan whereby she reported her mileage to the church. As it stands, there could be some valid questioning that it is ministerial income which starts the clock running for the Form 4361.  I am not saying it is, but there is a strong possibility the IRS would consider it as such.

If possible, the 1099 should be rescinded.

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

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