Are you a tax dodger?
As a pastor, you may have multiple sources of income. Most of your income will likely be reported on a W-2 from your church or denominational office. If you’ve published some books, you’ll get W-2s from your publishers. You might even get a 1099-MISC for a bigger speaking engagement.
But for many things you do as a pastor, you will not receive any tax forms reporting that income. Funerals, weddings, pulpit supply, guest speaking, book or CD sales, bonuses or gifts from the church… All are taxable, even if you don’t get the number printed on some legal-looking form. It may even be a cash payment.
But ALL income derived from your job is taxable (even housing allowance is taxable for Social Security and Medicare). You MUST report ALL of your income.
This is an integrity issue.
It would be easy for me to be lazy and “forget about” the $500 pastor’s appreciation gift the church gave me last year. I’m paid by denominational offices, so the bonus wouldn’t show up on a W-2 and it’s under $600, so they wouldn’t have to give me a 1099-MISC… I could just leave it off of my tax forms. If I had no integrity.
You may not like to pay taxes. You may somehow even think that Jesus’ command to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” doesn’t apply to you. As long as you don’t get caught. Who’s going to know?
But it’s not worth the rotting of your soul to save a few dollars on taxes. Deception is deception. Even if it’s the US Government you’re deceiving.
Jesus said it this way: “What does it profit a man if he gains the world and loses his soul?” A modern translation might as well say, “What does it profit a pastor to save a few hundred dollars on taxes when the deception rots his integrity?”
Make sure you go over all of your income from last year and report it. If you didn’t keep good records, you may need to go through your calendar and your bank statements to jog your memory. Don’t be a tax dodger. Don’t let the easy slide steal your integrity.