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Details on Parsonage and Clergy Taxes

Working for religious institutions is a service to God but to protect the interests of the ministers and rabbi, it is good to have financial information provided by the state. Most clergy including cantors, rabbi, priests and religious officers working in religious institutions have the right to get a waiver on some portion of the income. Usually home rent, furnishing and maintenance of the home are excluded from income tax and this is termed as Parsonage.

Due to the special tax waiver that is enjoyed by the clergy, ministers, cantors and rabbis have a special standing in the laws dealing with taxation. They are employees of the religious institutions and thereby have income tax withholding and a W-2. But for all purposes of Medicare and Social Security, they are considered to be self employed. This is a unique position and on being deemed as self employed, the clergy has to pay double taxes.

Sometimes the clergy, rabbi and cantor are not provided accommodation by the religious institutions they are affiliated with. Under these circumstances, the parsonage amounts to the rent, annual upkeep of the home, furnishings and utilities. Some of the items that are included in parsonage include insurance, rent, remodeling expenses, furnishings, repairs, pots and pans, audio and video devices, computers, linen, cleaning supplies, electrical appliances and lawn movers. But if the church or religious institution is providing accommodation, then the Parsonage is calculated as the market value of the home, yard, furnishings and other utilities. However, parsonage is not unlimited. The clergy is entitled to the lesser of these evaluations:

* The real amount spent on the home, furnishings and other utilities
* The fair rental value with furnishings and utilities of the house
* Or, the amount that is designated officially by the institution as parsonage

Theoretically, 100% of the minister’s salary can be deemed as parsonage but that is when limitations on the parsonage are being maintained. In case, couples are deemed dual ministers and are active members of their institutions, the parsonage is combined and cannot exceed the limitation. Sometimes, a minister or a rabbi holds multiple positions in many institutions that allow him for a parsonage but as per the rules, there is no double counting and the total parsonage that is awarded cannot go beyond the limitation.

However contrary to popular belief, parsonage is not an automatic perk but has to be awarded by the religious institution or the employing organization usually houses of worship such as the churches and synagogues are automatically granted tax exemption status by IRS even if they are not registered charities. The minister should ensure that the organization is validated to award parsonage and should ensure that once the parsonage is awarded, it is noted down officially in the minutes of the board or in the institutions records. This helps in any event of an audit. It is best to reevaluate the parsonage annually. If you are looking for more information on Clergy taxes, it is best to seek an advice of a CPA who deals in clergy taxes.

Elements of Modern Home Design

Updating a home involves many elements of change, which involves anything from modern furniture and artwork to room designs. A home can be transformed into a contemporary dwelling with features and accents that have a 21st century edge and style. Modern home design elements can add a touch of style and design to any home.

Modern homes can mean many things to many people, but all of them point to non-traditional style and features. Contemporary home furnishing outlets have home furnishings available, including things like glass panel kitchen cabinets and island kitchens with bar stool seating. These attractive furnishings can really serve as an attractive centerpiece for contemporary kitchen design.

Homeowners can also add updated features to their bathrooms as well to make them look neater and more spacious. Wall mounted cabinets are a great way to store bathroom items as well as give the room a decorative look. Some people choose to remodel their bathrooms with stylish vanity sets that are functional and attractive fixtures for bathing and pampering as they prepare for their day. These attractive bathroom accents add a touch of style and grace to a bathroom space.

Living room areas also lend themselves well to modern design features that can incorporate amazing colors, geometric shapes and contemporary furniture pieces. People can buy furniture coverings with vibrant colors and design patterns to enhance the modern color scheme and design. The living room will stand out and people can enjoy the contemporary feel when they entertain and relax in the room.

Room design and furnishings are not the only ways to modernize a home, however. Many homeowners are choosing to add additions to their homes to accommodate relatives or borders in addition to extra rooms, such as laundry rooms off of the kitchen or entertainment rooms the whole family can enjoy. Environmentally friendly features are also popular that help to brighten the home, save money and improve the environment. Solar paneled windows and energy efficient doors can really help to insulate a home and make it cost effective.

Modern home design elements can enhance a home and make it look more attractive and inviting. Additions can help to modernize a home and expand the possibilities of contemporary styles and design. Even small changes, such as updated furniture, color schemes and room design can bring a modern touch to one’s living space. After all, a home is not truly yours until you add some aspect of yourself into its design.