Deacon Offering for Funeral Expenses of a Pastor

by John
(Schenectady, NY)

My church sent out an email telling members that all money collected in the next Deacon offering will be sent to a Pastor's family to help pay for his funeral expenses.
This was in response from a request from our Presbytery asking for help with this individual's family who has to pay his funeral costs.

Is the money collected Tax Deductible or not? I believe it is not since a notice went out stating that an individual will benefit from the donation.

Comments for Deacon Offering for Funeral Expenses of a Pastor

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Aug 13, 2015
Payment of funeral expenses
by: MarcusNTexas

Seems to me that if the church has a benevolence fund in the operating budget and if an undesignated donation was made to the benevolence fund and if the Presbytery made a decision to use a portion of the benevolence fund to help with funeral expenses as an act of benevolence, then the donation could be considered as a deductible gift. How would this be different from a church member or non-member donating money for the church to use to purchase lights or chairs or a new piano?

Aug 22, 2015
Funeral expenses
by: DFry

It is different if it is going to an individual, presumably a member of the pastor's family. If it was paid to the funeral home, that would be different, and allowable. But the IRS does not allow an organization to collect funds on a tax-deductible basis for an individual or a group of individuals.

The church could decide to give a specific amount from the benevolence fund to an individual, but cannot tie that to a solicitation for funds for that individual. I know it sounds like splitting hairs, but how things are done makes all the difference. The can decide to give a set amount, and ask people to give to that fund for its stated purpose: benevolence. They can always give more than originally planned, but they cannot solicit funds to give to a person. The gifts must be free of all strings.

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