The housing allowance, created 65 years ago, is the most valuable tax benefit a minister can receive today. However, when a federal judge ruled it to be an unconstitutional preference for religion in 2017, its future for clergy in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin became uncertain. Many believed that uncertainty potentially extended nationwide, too, pending the outcome of an appeal.
But that uncertainty dissipated—at least for now—when the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (the court involved with the appeal) issued its opinion on Friday. Its conclusion: the clergy housing allowance is a constitutionally permissible tax benefit. This free article includes highlights from the opinion, as well as comments about what we should expect to see next in this continuing legal saga.
Looking ahead, we’re also offering a free webinar at 11 am (Central)/12pm (Eastern) on Friday featuring attorney and senior editor Richard Hammar. We’ll review the Seventh Circuit’s decision, plus address questions regarding what churches and clergy should anticipate next.
Also this week:
- More on compensation: We’re also offering a free webinar on March 27 with CPA and author Elaine Sommerville. Coming off of her popular webinar last October, Sommerville will return to answer a variety of questions—submitted by church leaders—pertaining to payroll, benefits, employee classifications, and more. Register now before seats fill up.
- In Case You Missed It: What churches should note about the US Department of Labor’s newly proposed overtime rule for “white-collar” employees.
- In the News: Why churches should pay attention to a resolution passed earlier this month by the National Association of Evangelicals.