Paying Visiting Ministers

by Bonnie

I have handled accounting for several small churches in the past/present. I continually hear disagreements on what to call the amount of money given to visiting ministers. Most of the money comes via the offering however in some cases it is supplemented by the church. Can you give insight as to the best way to handle these checks?


Make sure you have each visiting minister fill out a W-9. If they are paid over $600 in a calendar year, you will need to send them a 1099.


Comments for Paying Visiting Ministers

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guest speakers
by: Sandi

Our church has a "guest speaker" fund and policy.
A council approved Guest Speakers will be given payment for service of $_____________ per speaking engagement. Mileage may or may not be authorized. Non-council approved speakers may or may not be given payment.

• If mileage and/or lodging are authorized payments will be made in compliance with the travel policy.
• Mileage to be paid in compliance with the travel policy only for distances over 50 miles (round trip).
• If authorized a maximum of $___________ per engagement will be paid for mileage.
• If an overnight stay is required and authorized, the church will make arrangements for a host family or pay for local accommodations.
• When a pulpit swap is conducted, only authorized mileage will be paid to _________ Church Pastor, visiting pastor will be paid by their home church.
• Council invited Pastor Candidates will have no mileage limit and payments will be made in compliance with the travel policy.

Offerings taken for guest speakers will be applied to authorized amount in order to defray costs, if offerings do not meet the authorized amount the general fund will make up the difference.
If offering exceeds the authorized amount the excess will be added to the general fund account.

To be reviewed annually

The Travel Policy: All travel must be pre-approved by Council.

Travel worksheet
1. Filled out by person wanting reimbursement for travel.
2. Turned in to council for pre-approval and/or advanced payment
a. For advance pay:
i. Disbursement form must be attached to travel form.
ii. Council then gives to Treasurer to write check
iii. Then to book keeper for QuickBooks and filed.
b. After travel:
i. Worksheet, receipts and disbursement form are turned in to book keeper for QuickBooks.
1. If any discrepancies are noticed, paperwork will be given to council for review.
2. If no discrepancies are noticed paperwork is filed with disbursement form it pertains to.

Travel Reimbursement Policy:
IRS “Accountable” procedures will be followed.
Upon proof of attendance the following methods will be used to reimburse approved travel:
1. Mileage amount to be reimbursed will be $ _________ per-mile, based on shortest distances.
2. Lodging may be allowed up to current GSA per-diem rates, receipts required.
3. Subsistence may be allowed up to current GSA per-diem rates, receipts required.
4. Unused funds that were paid in advance, in excess of reimbursable amount, will be returned to the Church in a timely manner.
5. When a pulpit swap is conducted, only mileage will be paid.

(This information is to be verified with the most current IRS Publications)
to be reviewed anually

Hope this helps,

Paying Supply Preachers
by: Marcus in Texas

Payments to "supply" preachers is considered "payment for services rendered" and if the total amount paid is $600 or more annually to any individual, then IRS Form 1099 must be issued to the person receiving the payment(s) and filed with the IRS. At our small church (annual budget of $200,000) we have a budgeted line item called "Supply Minister" and have budgeted an amount in that line item and that item is "funded" in the base operating budget of the church--funds coming from regular weekly/monthly tithes and offerings. We also have another budget line item for "Love Offerings" and money donated by members for that purpose is credited to that account and then payments in the form of checks are charged (debited) to that same account. If a "special" offering is taken for a speaker or a singer, then the money goes into the "love offering" account and a check to the speaker or singer is paid from that account.

I am not a tax attorney nor am I a CPA, so these are my opinions based only on experience.

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