Can a pastor give back/donate his housing allowance to the church as a charitable contribution?

by Michelle

Due to COVID, receipts of cash contributions were low.

The church had me do a W2 for pastors housing allowance. The fact is they now are asking me what they should do.

The pastor in fact did not receive his allowance due to the lack of funds (very small church).

I was thinking since a W2 was issued as receipt of funds he could amend his personal tax return and claim a charitable contribution for 2021.

It seems reasonable, but I am not confident to recommend this due my lack of understanding of housing allowances accounting.

The pastor does have a full time job other than his ministry and only receives a housing allowance from the church. Thank you - Michelle

Comments for Can a pastor give back/donate his housing allowance to the church as a charitable contribution?

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Sep 10, 2022
Housing Allowance Never Received Cannot Be a Charitable Contribution
by: Vickey

If I am understanding you correctly, since the housing allowance was never paid, a W-2 should have never been issued...if he never actually received any money from the church =(

He cannot claim it as a charitable contribution either. In order for him to have claimed a charitable contribution deduction which by the way is very hard to do now... he would have had to give donations from his personal account.

So if the church issued him a check and he in return ... deposited the money in his personal account and then turned around and gave that money back out of his personal account as a donation...then he could claim it as charitable donations... if he had enough to "itemize" his taxes.

If the W-2 was all zeroes and only a housing amount was listed in Box 14, I am not sure that you could even amend that W-2 since Box 14 is an informational box only =(

I believe at this point you need to contact a knowledgeable CPA as I have never faced this situation and am unsure what to do about it =( I just know that he cannot claim what he has never actually given from his personal account.

I can recommend the Ministry CPA: Corey A. Pfaffe, CPA, LLC. Here is his website:

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