Question concerning how church organist is paid

by Butch
(Tombsone, AZ. )

As pastor, I have just become aware that we are paying our church organist by sending her pay to her landlord for a partial on her rent.

A lawyer that goes to our church said this was ok to pay her in the described manner. He called it benevolent payment or compassionate compensation.

I have searched through your website and can find nothing for paying her in this manner. She qualifies as a church employee and when we find out whether or not this payment method is not correct or illegal, we intend to pay her as a w-2 employee. She is 85 and lives from funds established by a trust fund.

Please advise as to what is proper in her compensation (pay).

Thank you

Comments for Question concerning how church organist is paid

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Apr 22, 2020
Organists are Usually Considered Employees of the Church
by: Vickey

I respectfully disagree with your lawyer.

Benevolence is not to be used in exchange for a service. There are some strict guidelines on what the IRS considers nontaxable benevolence. See more on those guidelines:

https://www.freechurchaccounting.com/benevolence-fund.html

Usually the church's organist is considered an employee of the church as the church provides the "equipment" and sets the hours =)

So paying her as a W-2 employee is probably a good idea.

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