Although a necessary part of any society, taxes are becoming continuously more cumbersome and complicated with an ever growing list of regulation and rules that rarely translate from person to person. Here at the ULC Ministries, we want to make tax season easier and more interesting than ever before so we have compiled some facts and tips that will hopefully help you break a smile and the United States' tax code.
One of the most common questions we are asked at the ULC Ministries is if our ministers receive special tax breaks or exemptions for becoming ordained. Per most tax related things, this question is more complex than a simple yes or no and Zondervan's 2011 Minister's Tax and Financial Guide, available through the ULC.org bookstore, provides line by line assistance that will assist any of our ordained ministers in properly filing their taxes. Dan Busby CPA and John Van Drunen JD, CPA, thoroughly explain everything from who counts as a minister to how to most effectively utilize tax exemptions targeted at ministers, such as special allowances and deductions on housing. Ordained ministers are eligible for housing allowances that others are not.
Zondervan's also has a tax guide specific to Churches and Nonprofits that does a great job of highlighting and explaining the numerous changes to the 2011 tax code. One of the most complicated issues for nonprofits, employee compensation, is explained throughout the book and Busby and Drunen, once again, provide great illustrations and examples that take you line by line through everything, including difference between continuous contributions (tithing) and one time gifts. With actual examples of filled out tax forms, the authors make it almost impossible to misfile and over or under pay on your 2011 taxes.
Busby and Drunen also offer some great biblical reasoning for being financially accountable as skirting pay your taxes is a temptation faced by almost every tax payer. From Psalm 106:3, "Blessed are those who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right" to Proverbs 1:11 "The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight," it is clear that the Bible is in favor of doing your taxes correctly as opposed toÃ‚ doing them in a self-serving manner. In this time of great financial trouble it is important to pay the correct amount of taxes as over paying would hurt the individual and under paying would strip the Federal Government of necessary and needed revenue. This revenue funds society's most vital social programs like education, Medicare and the armed forces. Here at the ULC Ministries, we hope to provide the necessary resources in aiding our ministers at all times, especially ones as trying as tax time.
Finally, here are some fun facts that may not help you finish your taxes, but may make it more pleasantÃ¢
-Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ "Fountain soda drinks" in Chicago are taxed at 9%, if it comes in a bottle or can then it's only taxed at 3%.
-Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ The easiest form, the 1040EZ, has thirty-three pages of instructions.
-Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ My personal favorite is Form 6478 Ã¢ " Credit for Alcohol Used as Fuel. (I assume this does not mean for cars as DUIs are illegal in every state)
-Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ There are over 7 million words in the tax law and regulations. That beats the Gettysburg address, the Declaration of Independence, and the Holy Bible all rolled into one (269+1,337+773k).
Good luck with your taxes this season. Should you need last minute help, the ULC Ministries always offers express shipping to help with last minute filings.