By Bob Perkins
To help ministers and churches get their arms around tax issues during this season, CBF’s Church Benefits is proud to distribute two resources created to answer the myriad of questions particular to the ministry.
The resources – Ministers’ Taxes Made Easy and Church Reporting Made Easy – were created by the Evangelical Council for Financial Responsibility (ECFA), an independent accreditation organization committed to helping churches and religious organizations demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability.
“The ECFA creates these guides each year which are reliable updates of changes in law and guidelines,” said Gary Skeen, president of CBF’s Church Benefits. “It also focuses on current financial news related to ministers and churches.”
Through CBF’s Church Benefits’ partnership with the Lilly Foundation and CBF’s Ministry of Excellence Initiative, these resources are provided to CBF churches and Church Benefits members for free.
The two guides offer similar information. Ministers’ Taxes Made Easy is devoted to information for individuals filing their own returns with helpful information designed to save time and money in the tax preparation process. Church Reporting Made Easy is focused on information pertinent to church accounting/business staffs and committee members with helpful tips on organizing what could become a mountain of data and how to stay within legal requirements while maximizing returns.
Both guides offer “Recent Developments” sections featuring information regarding heightened procedures on employment tax audits, changes to proposed gift substantiation alternative, and news regarding the ACA healthcare “individual mandate” penalty. There’s also notice about upcoming changes to Social Security in 2017 and a review of the tax system for ministers with tips, key issues and warnings of which preparers should be aware.
“These are good updates even if you are not preparing your own taxes or responsible for your church’s financial records,” Skeen said. “Both guides provide samples of completed IRS forms and outline best practices regarding IRS filing.”
Both guides are available online in pdf format, located on the CBF Church Benefits website. Just click on the Resources Section.
For more information on taxes and your retirement plan, please call Church Benefits at 1-800-352-8741.
CBF’s Church Benefits is a ministry of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Created more than 20 years ago to provide world class benefits to CBF employees and affiliated churches, Church Benefit advocates on behalf of its members. With more than $50 million invested in the CBF 403(b) retirement plan, Church Benefit’s mission is “servicing churches to promote quality leadership in God’s mission.”