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Is my clergy income subject to the self-employment tax?

SOLVEDby TurboTax835Updated January 13, 2023

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've requested, and the IRS has approved, an exemption from self-employment tax
  • You're 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

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