Fringe Benefits - taxable or not taxable

by Employee
(Atlanta, GA)

Our church structure includes a District that reports to a Jurisdiction that also reports to the National Church.

When my pastor attends meetings on any of these levels, he requests checks from the local church to pay his offerings and he calls them assessments.

There is usually an assessment by the jurisdiction to each church to pay for the incurred expenses for this meeting. But anytime they take up an offering, he is calling that an assessment.

In the past, he would turn in a listing of check numbers and required reimbursement. Now, he is collecting checks based on when he thinks an offering will be taken and takes a check to give in that offering.

Is this a fringe benefit and taxable?

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Fringe Benefits??
by: Anonymous in NC

This doesn't sound like a fringe benefit to the pastor; it sounds more like an expense of your church. This expense should be included in your accountable expense reimbursement plan and approved (or not) by the church administrative council or whatever you call the ultimate governing body at your church.

If approved at budget time by your church there would be a line item for this expense, and when your pastor submits the documents for this expense he would be reimbursed from that expense line item. Then it would not be taxable as a fringe benefit by your pastor.

If you do not have an accountable expense reimbursement plan, then yes, it would be added to the pastor's W-2 form at the end of the year as income and he would offset it when he files income taxes by showing the receipts of his donations at those meetings to his tax preparer.

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