Filing Form 4361

by nancy carol
(buffalo ny usa)

We are a small church and was not aware of the two year window on form 4361. Is this a hard and fast rule? Can there be some extenuating circumstances to be considered for filing? our pastor will be entering his 6th year in Feb, 2011.


vickey's reply

This is a very hard and fast rule. There is no exception that I know of and I have researched it extensively.

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Comments for Filing Form 4361

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May 04, 2011
exception
by: Anonymous

I also did not know about this and missed the window. I contacted BJ Worth ministers tax consulting agency in Indiana. I found out that because I was transitioning to another church that was considered a "restart" on the two year window.

Jun 17, 2013
Not true
by: Anonymous

Just because you change churches, there is no restart. You have to change denominations or religious beliefs. We too, missed the window and have contacted many different people in the ministerial branch of the IRS and there is nothing we can do to change it.

Feb 22, 2014
Form 4361 2-year window of opportunity
by: Anonymous

Merely changing churches does not reset the two year window of opportunity. However, if you change to a new denominational structure and concurrent with that change develop the requisite religious objection, your two year window re-opens.

Oct 04, 2015
Really not a great idea
by: Paul

It's really not a great idea to opt out of Social Security. I know several who've done it and I don't know of one who sought private insurance that equaled the value of Social Security. I do not know of even one who's fared well by opting out.

Three people I know have revoked their previous conscientious objections.

Another bought a huge house with the amount he should have spent on insurance and retirement investments. The size of his house made people scratch their heads.

Another fell and hit his head and never fully recovered. He did not have disability insurance and it was a huge burden to his church. He finally died and at some point the church told his wife and family it was time to move on.

Another died and left his wife with nothing. The church paid his salary to her for some time, but told her they needed to end payments.

Another friend opted out years ago and lives on all his income. He's in his late 50s and travels as a youth speaker. He thinks no matter how old he becomes, he'll have the health to keep speaking and that churches will want him. (Really, this is not faith, this is downright silly.) I pity his wife. She'll have nothing when they retire.

Furthermore, if you follow the law, you are required to make a statement to your licensing, ordaining, or commissioning body stating your conscientious objection on religious grounds. You can't just say Social Security is a bad idea and you can invest more wisely. Your reason cannot be because the church offered you such a small salary and if you didn't pay the tax you'd have more income.

I'd like to see a young minister denounce Social Security and provide scriptural support in front of a group of people who receive Social Security. In fact, I do not know of one who's followed the law on this matter, they just signed the 4361 and sent it in, ignoring the requirement to make such a statement to the church body.

In closing, and pardon the essay, I want to say to anyone considering this: if your reason for wanting to opt out is because a church has offered you a salary that's too small to live on, stay away from that church!

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