Author’s note: While colleges and seminaries may do a good job of preparing clergy to teach their congregations, these schools can’t possibly include every topic that working faith leaders will actually need. Hence, this series on the practical aspects of retirement planning, tax management and insurance practices seeks to suggest some subjects that may need further investigation.

Accounting isn’t an option most seminaries offer, but the Internal Revenue Service now requires that each parishioner have a giving statement for contributions made to faith-based non-profits and churches each year. Plus, clergy have to keep detailed track of their own official expenses, if they want to stay within the letter of the law. Lastly, there’s the matter of a tax break for pastoral housing.

Rick Cousins can be reached at

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