Okay, I admit it, that was one of those shocking titles meant just to get you to read this post.
I’m writing this post for two reasons.
- Today the IRS opened for business. That’s right. It’s tax time.
- To promote the tax preparation company that helped me pay the bills last year while I was on my ministry search.
Okay, maybe I’m biased. My parents own and operate two locations of ExpressTax in Valdosta, GA. Last year when when most tax prep offices saw a decrease in business, my parent’s operation saw a strong increase. Why? Because they’re very good in what they do. Although they do over a thousand personal returns every season, they also specialize in corporate taxes, incorporating and most specifically, clergy taxes.
I’ve worked for four churches since I’ve been in full time ministry. Two of those four churches didn’t follow code in reporting my taxes as a minister (It’s not just the little churches). A surprising number of churches make of this simply because it’s confusing. When I first went into ministry, someone on my staff recommended that I go to their CPA. It was going to cost me $400 to file my return. Why? Because clergy tax is confusing and most tax preparers don’t know how to do it. I didn’t pay that CPA $400. My mom took a specialized class on clergy tax and she does it for free. A perk of being her last born child. However, my mom now does most of my ministry friend’s tax returns. Why? Because she does it right and she doesn’t charge $400. She also does that tax planning to help you estimate quarterly payments and such. I’m not just saying this because she’s my mom, really. She’s just that awesome.
So, if you’re paying $400 to have your accountant or CPA do your clergy taxes, then you probably don’t mind throwing your money away. It’s likely that your CPA has an assistant that got her tax training at H&R Block and she’d the one actually doing your return. You’re paying $400 becasue, well, a CPA is doing your taxes.
Here’s the deal. Save yourself a little money. Give my mom a call and let her do your taxes. Use the money you would have spent on a CPA to take your spouse out for a really nice dinner and who knows, if you’re ever driving through Valdosta (Most likely it’s on your way to Disney World), my mom will probably invite you over for dinner.