Oklahoma Baptist Pastor Faces IRS Complaint

“ ‘AU claims to stand for the separation of church and state, yet by complaining to the IRS, AU is asking for government monitoring and surveillance of churches by the state,’ said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley to The Christian Post. ‘That’s not separation of church and state no matter how you look at it.’” -CP
Pastor Paul Blair of Fairview Baptist Church is alleged to backed a gubernatorial candidate from his pulpit on “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”

1450 reads

There are 5 Comments

Ron Bean's picture

Methinks that some of these churches would not want to provoke the IRS into investigating their church's finances.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

The state of congregational reporting, in general, is poor in our country.

Members need to demand quarterly reporting:

  • Balance sheet
  • Income and expense reporting
  • Etc.

Any organization that asks for money should freely and willingly provide this reporting to anyone who donates to said organization.

The advantage, in my own view, of small churches, is that their finances are simple and can be understood by the average guy.

If a church doesn't want to abide by IRS rules - revoke your 501(c)(3):

  • Tell your members your donations are no more deductible
  • And watch your donations drop
  • Pay property taxes
  • Make your Pastor pay taxes on all of his income (reject the housing allowance!)
Ron Bean's picture

Thanks Jim. I have lost count of the churches i know where the pastor creates his own salary structure without any official action on the part of the church or board. This includes the church treasurer reimbursing the pastor for his house payments, the church paying the pastor's medical bills, the church paying the pastor's credit cards, etc. and none of this declared as income by the pastor.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
This includes the church treasurer reimbursing the pastor for his house payments, the church paying the pastor's medical bills, the church paying the pastor's credit cards, etc. and none of this declared as income by the pastor.
Housing allowance does not have to be declared as income by the pastor, and medical bills usually do not have to be either if the pastor has a flex account set up. If the card is being used for church business, it is business expense and does not have to be reported as income.

This all depends on how the pastor's income is set up. It should be approved, at least in outline form, by the church body and written into the minutes that X amount is salary and X amount is expenses.

Ron Bean's picture

Larry wrote:
Quote:
This includes the church treasurer reimbursing the pastor for his house payments, the church paying the pastor's medical bills, the church paying the pastor's credit cards, etc. and none of this declared as income by the pastor.
Housing allowance does not have to be declared as income by the pastor, and medical bills usually do not have to be either if the pastor has a flex account set up. If the card is being used for church business, it is business expense and does not have to be reported as income.

This all depends on how the pastor's income is set up. It should be approved, at least in outline form, by the church body and written into the minutes that X amount is salary and X amount is expenses.

My point is that sometimes these actions are taken without approval of the church or board. In such cases the pastor is liable to pay taxes on these benefits or run the risk violating the law. For instance, the pastor simply instructs the treasurer to cut him a check to reimburse him for his house payment or to pay his credit card bills without receipts and the church and/or board have not approved of such actions.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan