Gift to Church Member

by Ginger

If a church gives a gift (one-time) to a member of the church for need based purposes, is that taxable? If the member is a deacon or another type of leader in the church does that make a difference? And if other deacons didn't receive a gift does that make a difference?

vickey's reply

According to Dan Busby, CPA, in his book: <Zondervan 2011 Church and Nonprofit Tax and Financial Guide...

Love offerings (gifts) to staff members from church or nonprofit funds are taxable....unless they meet one of the following exceptions:
• De minimis less than $25 in value. (Cash, gift cards, or other cash equivalents are not de minimis gifts, regardless of how small the value)
• Employee achievement awards...requires a written, nondiscriminatory award program, which provides awards either upon attaining longevity goals or safety standards and meets other requirements for type of gift and limits on amounts.
• Staff member is a church attendee...requires careful documentation to ensure that the employee would have received a benevolence payment, and in the same amount, if the individual had not been a staff member. *Note: Many churches adopt policies prohibiting the payment of benevolence funds to employees.

Comments for Gift to Church Member

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gift question
by: Vicky

If the church gives an ongoing gift to the deceased pastor's wife, would that gift be taxable? The church is very small and when the pastor died, they voted to give the amount they were paying as the pastor's salary to his widow. The widow is not a church employee.

additional question
by: Anonymous

What if the deacons or other church members are not technically paid staff members? Does that help plead the case if questioned?

Vickey's reply

I would just have careful documentation to ensure that the individual would have received a benevolence payment even if they had not been a deacon.

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