Is my clergy income subject to the self-employment tax?
Yes, members of the clergy (ministers, members of a religious order, and Christian Science practitioners and readers) and religious workers (church employees) must pay self-employment tax (SE tax).
The following income is included in the SE tax calculation on Schedule SE:
- Salaries and fees for your ministerial services
- Money for marriages, baptisms, funerals, masses, etc.
- The value of meals and lodging provided to you, your spouse, and your dependents
- The fair rental value of a parsonage (including the cost of furnished utilities) or the rental allowance (including an amount for utilities)
- Any amount a church pays toward your income tax or SE tax, other than withholding the amount from your salary.
Clergy housing is only included as income when determining your self-employment taxes, not when calculating your federal income tax.
You aren’t required to pay SE tax when any of the following applies:
- You’re a member of a religious order that has taken a vow of poverty.
- You have requested, and the IRS has approved, an exemption from self-employment tax.
- You are subject only to the social security laws of a foreign country under the provisions of a social security agreement between the United States and that country.