Non-requested Donations?

by Rev Matthew

I am a commissioned counseling minister and also ordained by a church and act as a pastor with no salary.

When I begin a counseling relationship, I take an assessment fee that is the same amount I pay out for the processing of the assessment. Then based on income and family size I let them know what I think is appropriate for a donation. Then I never bring up the topic of money again.

Some donate nothing, some donate exactly what I said was appropriate, others whatever they happen to have in their pocket. But, I never solicit these donations, and will continue to counsel them whether they donate or not.

Are these donations required to be reported?

Comments for Non-requested Donations?

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Oct 15, 2020
Taxable Income
by: Vickey

Yes. The IRS would consider the donations as payment for services.

Oct 15, 2020
Updated thoughts.
by: Rev Matthew

After I submitted this question, I read up on a court case. In that case donations that were directed by the donor to the pastor as a gift were tax deductible by the donor and were counted as income by the pastor. But gifts that were unsolicited and went straight to the pastor were not tax deductible by the donor and only were counted as income if they exceeded (in total) his salary. Since I don't collect a salary and the donations are given to me (so not tax deductible by the donor), then what?

Oct 15, 2020
Donations for a Service
by: Vickey

The IRS requires all love offerings to be reported as they look on them as appreciation for a "service" and that makes them taxable in their eyes.

I instruct my clients that money that is given to a minister personally "outside" of the church's donations are between them and the IRS.

But I am certain that the IRS would view the donations you described as a payment for consulting services; however, I am not a tax attorney, so please consult a knowledgeable one to get legal advice. on your particular situation =)

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