Area church holds clergy tax seminar

JACKSON, Tenn. — Doing taxes is never fun, and it can be complicated. While tax help is available for many, clergy members may have more difficulty.

“They’re considered dual-status employees,” said Larry Davis, treasurer for the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church. “That means they’re considered employees in a local church and pay income tax, but they’re self-employed when it comes to Social Security and Medicare tax.”

While most people only have a W-2 from work or a form for being self-employed, clergy members have to file differently.

“They file two different tax returns — one for self-employment and one for regular, like we do,” Davis said.

The Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church held a tax seminar Wednesday to help their clergy with those filing differences.

“Not only do they file a 1040 like we all do, but they also have to file a Schedule SE self-employment tax. So, they pay both halves of their Social Security and Medicare tax,” Davis said.

Most taxpayers only pay half for Social Security and Medicare taxes, while their employer pays the other half.

“In the church world, a pastor pays 15.3 percent,” Davis said. “The church doesn’t pay that half. The individual clergy has to pay that.”

Members of the clergy who need tax help can check with their church or a tax preparer.

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