Is it correct for church to leave box 3 on W-2 blank?

by Curt

Is it correct for church to leave box 3 on W-2 blank?

If so, when Social Security Admin computes and average 35 highest years of "wages" and if Box 3 on the W-2 is blank, then how does the SSA compute one's soc sec payments? What do they count as "wages?" Is simply the amount per year we've paid to FICA?

This is important because by allocating more money from clergy pay package to tax sheltered annuity (pre-tax dollars paid by clergy) and pension fund paid by church, and lowering the housing allowance by maximizing TSA and pension payments, this all has the cumulative effect of lowering your social security tax paid per year.

This MAY also have the unintended consequence of resulting in lower soc sec payments at time of activating soc sec payments to you.

Are we better off reducing soc sec per year by increasing TSA and denominational pension payments per year or better off paying higher soc sec FICA taxes per year (by lowering TSA, pension payment + raising amount of housing allowance and salary paid to clergy?


Know the answer? Face the same situation? Please post your answer or comment by using the "comment" link below. Thank you!

Comments for Is it correct for church to leave box 3 on W-2 blank?

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 28, 2011
Minister's W-2
by: Vickey

If you are classified as a minister for tax purposes, then 3 on your W-2 should be left blank.

The Social Security Administration computes your SS benefits from your "self-employment" income as well as "regular" wages.

As far as maximizing TSA and pension payments, you should consult a tax professional for expert advice.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Minister's W-2.

Need training on how to use QBO or Aplos effectively for a church or better yet ...need an expert in either of those accounting software to do your monthly bookkeeping and/or payroll? See more on our accounting services!

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.