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love offering for the piano player

by Madeline

We have recently had a retired woman join our congregation. She used to play the piano at a church that she used to attend. She has begun to play the piano on Sunday mornings for our church.

Our Pastor wants to take a love offering for her once a month to help offset the gas that she uses in her car to get to church.

This seems like a gray area because she isn't considered an employee - mainly a volunteer playing the piano on Sunday morning, however, with the love offering being taken on a monthly basis for her service - does this make her an independent contractor or would she be considered an actual employee - would the church have to issue her 1099's at the end of the year if the amount taken up by the church and given to her is more than $600?

Comments for love offering for the piano player

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Feb 16, 2013
piano player
by: Sandi

I would 1st ask her if she want's payment, giving money to someone who is volunteering may cause them to not want to perform the service, and you are correct in that once the church starts paying her she is no longer a volunteer.
If she want's the income have her fill out a W-9 so you can issue her a 1099 at the end of the year. I believe she would be a independent contractor unless she meets the IRS requirements (Vicki has a section under clergy/minister-look left and scroll down- or go to
Money collected specified for her would not be deductable for the giver unless you create a "music" fund(or something general like that)for the donors to give to.
The church would also have to have a policy to state how much can be given (a cap)with a provision funds are availible. With the understanding the account may be used for any "music" ministry.
Hope this helps!

Feb 18, 2013
by: Anonymous

What if the people in the church just handed money once in a while to the piano player as a gift and didn't involve the church? Is that OK to do?

Feb 18, 2013
payment direct to volunteer from individuals
by: Sandi

Yes it is ok for individuals to give gifts directly to people. :0)

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