Are love gifts to a staff member of a congregation tax exempt for the donor?

by Anna Martin
(San Diego, California)

I am a board member in a religious organization...During a recent fund raiser, a man gave $ 500.00 donation directly to the pastor and indicated it was a benevolence/love gift (don't believe these terms should be used synonymous) and he suggested that the money go to a staff member.


The donation was entered as a 'love gift' versus benevolence, although the pastor argued it was benevolence because the staff member had some outstanding medical bills... It seems that this 'love gift' should not be tax exempt for either party? Appreciate your input. Thank You!

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Comments for Are love gifts to a staff member of a congregation tax exempt for the donor?

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Dec 09, 2010
Love Offerings
by: Marcus in Texas

Love offerings designated for a specific individual should not be considered tax exempt by the donor. Running the gift through the church bank account but directing that the money is to go to a specific person should not change the tax status of the gift. Seems to me that the donor should just give the money, either cash or a check, to the person he/she wants it money to go to and leave the church out of it.

Dec 10, 2010
Love offerings designated for a specific individual
by: Vickey

Marcus is exactly right. “Love offerings designated for a specific individual [cannot] be considered tax exempt by the donor.

Read this post.

Feb 23, 2012
GIFT TO PIANIST OR SOLOIST TAXABLE INCOME?
by: Anonymous

I VOLUNTEER AT OUR CHURCH AS THE PIANIST, I DO NOT RECEIVE PAY FOR THIS. THE SOLOIST IS A VOLUNTEER ALSO. WE BOTH BUY MUSIC AND CD'S OUT OF OUR OWN POCKET IN ORDER TO SUPPLY THIS SERVICE TO THE CHURCH. AT CHRISTMAS, THE CHURCH GAVE EACH OF US A CARD THAT READ, "MERRY CHRISTMAS, WE APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DO FOR OUR CHURCH" ALONG WITH $1000. IS THIS MONEY CONSIDERED INCOME FOR US? SHOULD WE REPORT ON OUR INCOME TAX RETURN?

Mar 09, 2013
Love gifts for volunteering at church
by: Anonymous

My wife volenteered at our church as a teacher and was given a love gift a couple times through out the year . Is this love gift taxable ?? Will we have to pay taxes on it and or even claim it at tax time ??

Mar 09, 2013
Love Gifts to Volunteers, Pianists, Singers, etc
by: MarcusinTexas

Any payment made by a church to anyone for services provided to the church is considered taxable income if the amount is $600 or more for any year. The church should send the recipient(s) of the payment a 1099 MISC for the year during which the payments were made. If the recipient spent money during the year for CDs or other items "for the church" then those expenses could possibly be claimed as deductions, but only if the recipient of the payment for services did not keep those items personally as opposed to giving them to the church.


Aug 14, 2014
Contributions to a staff member's family?
by: Anonymous

If a staff member has children going to camp, and members of the church donate to the fund the kids to go to camp, does that count as taxable income to the parent on staff?

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